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German City Council Rejects New Turkish-Tied Mosque

May 10th, 2021 11:35

Ger­man media is report­ing that a Ger­man city coun­cil has reject­ed a mosque con­struc­tion plan from a Turk­ish reli­gious orga­ni­za­tion with strong con­nec­tions to the Turk­ish gov­ern­ment. Accord­ing to the RTL report, the Turk­ish-Islam­ic Union for Reli­gious Affairs was involved with plans to con­struct a mosque in the cen­ter of Heil­bronn, a Ger­man city locat­ed north of Stuttgart:

April 27, 2021 Despite years of plan­ning by the city and the Islam­ic reli­gious com­mu­ni­ty DITIB, Heil­bron­n’s city coun­cil has over­turned the con­struc­tion of a new mosque in the city cen­ter. The devel­op­ment plan will not go for­ward now that the mea­sure has been vot­ed down. The Mus­lims [sic] express deep dis­ap­point­ment and announce that they will exam­ine the body’s deci­sion in detail. “This is a slap in the face of the Mus­lim fel­low cit­i­zens and a fatal sig­nal in a city that prides itself on its inte­gra­tion,” said Erdinc Altun­tas, chair­man of the Turk­ish-Islam­ic umbrel­la orga­ni­za­tion DITIB in Heil­bronn, on Tues­day. “We will look into legal action and claims for dam­ages.” Accord­ing to him, the plan­ning of the mosque has cost about one mil­lion euros. The city par­lia­ment had reject­ed the plans on Mon­day evening with 22 to 17 votes. Accord­ing to the Green fac­tion in the city coun­cil, the project failed, among oth­er things, because of con­cerns that there could be traf­fic prob­lems due to high vis­i­tor num­bers and a lack of park­ing spaces. In addi­tion, the size of the build­ing is said to have played a role, as well as the prox­im­i­ty of the builder DITIB to Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Recep Tayyip Erdo­gan. DITIB is the largest Islam­ic asso­ci­a­tion in Ger­many and the Ger­man branch of the Turk­ish state reli­gious author­i­ty Diyanet. [Trans­lat­ed by DeepL with edits]

Read the rest here.

The Turk­ish-Islam­ic Union for Reli­gious Affairs (DITIB) man­ages over 900 mosques in Ger­many. At the same time, the Turk­ish Direc­torate of Reli­gious Affairs  (Diyanet)  deter­mines the the­o­log­i­cal guide­lines for imams’ ser­mons, and the Turk­ish con­sulate pays their salaries. DITIB, how­ev­er, main­tains that it is inde­pen­dent of the Turk­ish state.  Ger­man politi­cians have sought to have imams trained in Ger­many instead of sent over from Turkey in part to reduce Turkey’s influ­ence in the coun­try. Oth­er GIOR report­ing about DITIB has included:

  • In April 2021, we report­ed about a DITIB imam-train­ing pro­gram train­ing in Germany,
  • In March 2021, we report­ed that the Dan­ish equiv­a­lent of DITIB and a local group with Islamist con­nec­tions were denounc­ing a law lim­it­ing for­eign fund­ing of mosques in Denmark.
  • In March 2021, we report­ed that DITIB’s book­store was sell­ing a book call­ing for death to those who insult the Prophet Mohammed and approv­ing “light beat­ing” for women.