Gatestone Institute 13 February 2013
By Soeren Kern
"Do not worry, the muezzin will not shout from the minaret." Daniel Abdin, Chairman, the Al-Nour Center.
Muslim plans to convert a former Lutheran church in the city of Hamburg into a mosque is generating controversy across Germany. From Berlin to Dortmund to Mönchengladbach, the gradual proliferation of mosques housed in former churches reflects the rise of Islam as the fastest growing religion in post-Christian Germany.
In the most recent case, the church would be the first converted into a mosque in the second-largest city in Germany.
The latest dust-up involves the former Kapernaumkirche (Capernaum Church), located in the Horn district in downtown Hamburg. The church, a cultural heritage site, was abandoned in 2002 for financial reasons due to declining membership.
The building and an adjacent 44 meter (144 foot) tower/steeple as well as the surrounding land was sold in December 2012 to the Al-Nour Islamic Center, which has approximately 600 members, mainly made up of Arab Muslim immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa.
The church is currently undergoing renovations at a cost of one million euros ($1.4 million) and is scheduled to be reopened as a mosque on October 3, the Day of German Unity [Tag der Deutschen Einheit], a public holiday commemorating the anniversary of German reunification in 1990. Muslims in Germany have also claimed October 3 as Open Mosque Day [Tag der offenen Moschee], a day when non-Muslims are allowed to visit mosques. (continue reading...)