Muslims plan to convert Hamburg church into mosque

Muslims plan to convert Hamburg church into mosque

PanARMENIAN.Net - Muslim plans to convert a former Lutheran church in the city of Hamburg into a mosque is generating controversy across Germany, according to gatestoneinstitute.org.

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 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, a public holiday commemorating the anniversary of German reunification in 1990. Muslims in Germany have also claimed October 3 as Open Mosque Day, a day when non-Muslims are allowed to visit mosques.

In Germany as a whole, more than 400 Roman Catholic churches and more than 100 Protestant churches have been closed since 2000, according to one estimate. At least 277 Protestant churches have been either sold or demolished since 1990, according to the Evangelical Church in Germany. Another 700 Roman Catholic churches are slated to be closed over the next several years.

By contrast, there are now more than 200 purpose-built mosques (including more than 40 so-called mega-mosques which can accommodate 1,000 or more worshippers), 2,600 Muslim prayer halls and a countless number of unofficial mosques in Germany, where the Muslim population has jumped from around 500,000 in the early 1980s to more than four million today. Another 128 mosques are currently under construction, according to the Zentralinstitut Islam-Archiv, a Muslim organization based in Germany.

 Top stories
"This is way over the top and unacceptable," said attorney Mohammed Zarie, who heads a rights center in Cairo.
David Cameron said the ban would be imposed on MPs that "have been pushing for the unacceptable steps that have been taken.
“All sides need to remember that compromise means getting less than 100%,” Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski said.
The IAEA reported in 2008 that the laser facilities had been taken over by a private company that said it had no plans to enrich uranium.
Partner news
Soghomon Tehlirian assassinated Talaat Pasha on March 15, 1921

Operation Nemesis was a covert operation by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation carried out from 1920 to 1922, during which a number of former Ottoman political and military figures were assassinated for their role in the Armenian Genocide.