Construction of mosque in German city fuels objections from Catholics, right-wingers

On Muslim holidays, hundreds of faithful hoping to pray at the city’s Ditib Mosque are forced to spread their prayer rugs in a nearby parking lot and follow the service on loudspeakers. The mosque holds only 600 people. Yet plans to replace the flat-roofed storefront mosque with a new house of worship, complete with dome and two 177-foot-tall minarets, have triggered an angry response from right-wing groups and, most recently, Cologne’s Roman Catholic archbishop. Mehmet Orman, 43, a Turkish immigrant who prays every night at Ditib Mosque ignoring its broken windows and worn-out prayer rugs hopes construction can begin, as scheduled, by the end of the year. “There are 2.7 million Turks in Germany of course we need a big, representative mosque in this country,” Orman said. Construction of mosques in Europe has rarely happened without much hand-wringing. In France, the scene of riots in largely Muslim and African suburbs in 2005, and Britain, which has just been threatened by a new wave of Islamic terror plots, there have also been protests against the building of new mosques.