• Germany's news in English

Conservatives say Muslims must show restraint with mosques

The Local · 3 Dec 2009, 10:23

Published: 03 Dec 2009 10:23 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

“Naturally the Muslims in Germany have a right to build mosques. But they should make sure not to overwhelm the German population with them,” Hessian Interior Minister and conservative Christian Democrat Volker Bouffier told daily Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung.

Large mosque minarets or domes that dominate the skyline will only create fears of Islamisation and fuel protests, Bouffier told the paper, explaining that the country’s state interior ministers would address the topic during their regularly scheduled conference on Thursday.

Afterwards the ministers plan to make an appeal to Muslim associations to avoid such structures, even if they are legal according to building regulations, in addition to “further intensifying the dialogue with Muslims in Germany,” he told the paper.

Organisations such as the German Islamic Conference (DIK), a federal Interior Ministry initiative intended to foster dialogue between Muslims and the government, are the way forward for continued understanding, he added.

Attempts to prevent the construction of mosques in Germany have made national headlines in recent years. This November workers in Cologne broke ground on a large, futuristic mosque with 55-metre minarets after it drew protestors from across the continent – including right-wing extremists.

To avoid inflaming public sentiment against the project, the Ditib Turkish association, which organised the mosque’s construction, agreed to not broadcast the call to prayer to the neighbourhood from the minarets and to keep the building’s height the same as nearby structures.

In Berlin’s Pankow district the first mosque to be built in former East Germany opened in October 2008 after two petitions for a referendum failed. Meanwhile residents of Gelsenkirchen, Munich and Dortmund are collecting signatures to prevent mosque construction in their communities.

Story continues below…

Signalling increased fears of the so-called “Islamification” of their country, Swiss citizens voted on Sunday to enact a constitutional ban on constructing minarets at mosques. The two right-wing parties that brought the issue to vote called the towers a symbol of Islam's supposedly political agenda.

Other topics up for discussion at the interior ministers' conference include preventing football hooliganism and residency laws for asylum seekers.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

10:59 December 3, 2009 by So36
Oh so now those pesky Muslims are getting too "uppity" and need to be put in their place? What's next, Roland Koch starts a CDU Kreuzritter faction to liberate the Holy Land?
11:11 December 3, 2009 by mprulez
Well...if that is the case, then I guess a cathedral can be built in Muskat or Jeddah! I am sure the people there will not have a problem seeing a towering structure of other religion!

I do not understand this passion for huge structures. For me, my heart is my alter! I do not need a big concrete building to see god!, leave alone in a foreign country!
11:18 December 3, 2009 by FrankSchreier
Naturally the Christans in Germany have a right to build churches. But they should make sure not to overwhelm the non-Christian population with their annoying hourly bell-ringing torture (if one goes to bed at 22:30, the 11pm and 12pm hour bells seem endless, really... also the 4 and 5 am ones) and their endless interfering in non-Christians's rights, such as shopping on Sundays and marrying their own same-sex partners.
11:24 December 3, 2009 by Portnoy
mprulez heart is his alter! Alter what he doesn't say. But it's his alter!

He's also apparently seeing god (small 'g'). Most places this is considered a psychiatric condition. But maybe not with his alter ego.
12:07 December 3, 2009 by nipa
Why compare to Muscat and Jeddah. Look at other Muslim majority countries Indonesia, Malaysia, Senegal etc where cathederals and houses of worship of all faiths are allowed. If Europe claims that they are the champion of democracy and practice more religious freedom than these countries why should they restrict building of mosques when churches do not have any problem in these countries. Pls. look at Islam beyond Saudi Arabia and Iran ect.
13:31 December 3, 2009 by Edin
I am a muslim and both of the coments from and are spot on.

1. There are about 2500 mosques in Germany, of which only 160 are Islamic-identical.

2. Nobody is asking to build the mosque in Vatikan, where no muslims live. There are now 4 million of Muslims in Germany, same number in UK, and there are now generations that are German born, educated and culturaly belong more to west than to east..... but we do need mosques. It is about the essence of faith, not about culture.

3. Mosques can indeed have very different architecture, but following the original islamic ones or depriving it, points exactly to the difference between integration and assimilation.
15:18 December 3, 2009 by lecturenotes2009
occasionally, i met few students from indonesia, both moslems and christians. there, churchs are allowed, of course.

but, the point is, i asked those indonesian muslim students. they told me, mostly they do not like that much the mosque in germany. they told me, why every mosque in germany should be integrated with turkish cultural centre? why not just islamic centre? and mostly, they only speak turkish inside the mosque and the cultrual office. for these indonesian students, they feel offended everytime they should go to mosque. and hell, they are moslem too.

so, it's not about islam at all. it's about turkish people and their culture. turkish people are certainly less appreciated. building mosque with very high minarets is nonetheless than the way they wan to actualize themselved and appreciation among themselves!
23:01 December 5, 2009 by Dizz
As long as they agree to take the domes off synagogues and bell-towers off cathedrals (or at least promise not to ring said bells) I've no problem with this at all. What if the Hindus or Buddhists decide they want to build a temple. No stupa allowed?
14:41 December 7, 2009 by ibth123
The problem is that the real Christians don't care much if they build their houses but that the Christians are forbidden anymore to speak up. The same go's when somebody wants to speak up for Jews. As shown in demonstrations in Germany before, when people tried to hang up their jewish flags and an islamic demonstrations was going on. The police broke into the apt and took the flags down. To avoid conflict so they say. It is a fact that their is freedom for gays, moslems,and any other believe in Europe but don't somebody dare to speak up for Christians and Jews.
Today's headlines
Outrage over ruling on 'brutal' gang rape of teen girl
The now convicted suspects, sitting in court in Hamburg. Photo: DPA.

A 14-year-old girl was gang-raped and left partially clothed and unconscious in freezing temperatures. Now prosecutors are appealing the sentences for the young men found guilty, most of whom will not set foot in jail.

Dozens of Turkish diplomats apply for asylum in Germany
Demonstrators holding a giant Turkish flag protest against the attempted coup in Istanbul in July. Photo: DPA.

Since the failed putsch attempt in Turkey in July, Germany has received 35 asylum applications from people with Turkish diplomatic passports, the Interior Ministry confirmed on Wednesday.

Hertha Berlin fan club criticised for 'anti-gay banner'
Hertha BSC beat FC Cologne 2-1. Photo: DPA

A 50 metre fan banner apparently mocking the idea of gay adoption has overshadowed Hertha BSC's win in the Bundesliga.

Germany stalls Chinese takeover of tech firm Aixtron
Aixtron headquarters in Herzogenrath. Photo: DPA

The German government on Monday said it had withdrawn approval for a Chinese firm to acquire Aixtron, a supplier to the semiconductor industry, amid growing unease over Chinese investment in German companies.

Politicians call for tough sentences for 'killer clowns'
File photo: DPA.

Now that the so-called 'killer clown' craze has spread from the US to Germany, elected officials are drawing a hard line against such "pranks", with some threatening offenders with jail time of up to a year.

Nearly one in ten Germans are severely disabled
Photo: DPA

New figures reveal that 9.3 percent of the German population last year were considered severely disabled.

The Local List
Germany's top 10 most surreal sites to visit
The Upside-Down House, in Mecklenburg–Western Pomerania. Photo: Olaf Meister / Wikimedia Commons

From upside-down houses on Baltic islands to a fairy-tale castle near the Austrian border, Germany is a treasure trove of the extraordinary.

Bavarian critics back Merkel for Chancellor again
Photo: DPA

The Christian Social Union (CSU) have long delayed backing Angela Merkel as their candidate for Chancellor in next year's general election. But now key leaders are supporting her publicly.

Four taken to hospital after hotel toilet bursts into flames
File photo: DPA.

Four guests at a Nuremberg hotel were taken to hospital due to smoke inhalation early Monday morning after a toilet there burst into flames.

Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German towns, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd