As many other Muslim communities, the Ditib Mosque in Friedlingen (Baden-Württemberg) opened its doors for visitors – Muslims and non-Muslims alike – as part of the open mosque day on October 3rd (as reported). Yet, only a few non-Muslims took the opportunity to visit the mosque and get to know the local Muslim community. Muhammat Pamuk, chair of the local Muslim association, was slightly disappointed in the low numbers of non-Muslim visitors and had hoped for a greater response from the local community.
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.