Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Germans Concerned Over Proposed New Mosque In Cologne

In Cologne, Germany, unexpectedly strong opposition has arisen to plans for the building of a new $20 million mosque on the site of a current one that is housed in a refurbished factory. The design for the new mosque-- a combination of classical and modern architecture-- came from a design competition held by the Turkish-Islamic Union. Today's Detroit Free Press (reprinting an article from last week's Chicago Tribune) says that German politicians and religious leaders have both expressed concerns. Criticism spread after Ralph Giordano, a respected German-Jewish writer, said the mosque demonstrated the creeping Islamization of Europe. Joerg Uckermann, deputy mayor of the Ehrenfeld district, said: "The mosque is not a symbol of integration, it's a symbol of isolation, the symbol of an isolated enclave of Oriental culture." And Germany's Cardinal Joachim Meisner said that the plans for the mosque give him an "uneasy feeling." The comments reflect growing concern in Germany over its failure to fully integrate the country's 2.7 million Turkish immigrants, at the same time that Turkey is pressing for admission to the European Union.