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Catholic church in Cologne collects money for a mosque
EUX.TV ^ | March 16, 2007 | Christoph Driessen

Posted on 03/16/2007 6:58:04 AM PDT by Alex Murphy

Cologne, Germany (dpa) - When the Rev. Franz Meurer stands at the altar this Sunday in his priestly vestments, he'll say to the congregation: "Today's collection is for the construction of the big new mosque in Ehrenfeld."

Meurer, 55, is not expecting protests. Both the board of Cologne's St. Theodore Catholic Church and the parish council have unanimously approved the action.

"It's only natural that we're helping them," he said of the Muslims living in a city that is one of the main centres of Catholicism in Germany.

After the special collection was announced last Sunday, several parishioners asked if it was really necessary - considering, for instance, that four young Turks beat a family man into a coma on the Thursday before Ash Wednesday.

"I said, 'Hey, people, think about it, will you? We'll be supporting the sensible ones'," Meurer recalled. "That's not so dumb."

St. Theodore's parish council came up with the unusual idea. Its chairman reminded the group that their new church was completed five years ago, and that the Protestant parish in the neighbourhood had given a nice gift.

"Now we, in turn, should give someone a gift too," Meurer said. "That's how we hit upon the mosque; it's being designed by the same architect that did our church."

The mosque, at the headquarters of the Turkish-Islamic Union for the Institution of Religion (DITIB) in the Cologne district of Ehrenfeld, will be one of Germany's biggest. Plans call for two 55-metre-high minarets, a dome, and room for more than 3,000 worshippers.

A right-wing populist party called ProCologne has been gathering signatures for a public petition against the structure. Ehrenfeld residents who want nothing to do with the petition have reservations about the size of the mosque, however.

Meurer's parish is in the Cologne suburbs of Hoehenberg and Vingst, both of which have a high proportion of foreigners. At his initiative, 180 sponsors planted 41,000 daffodils now in bloom along the streets.

Christian community work for Meurer means things like installing public dog loos because, as he said, "once an area like this is neglected, it can go downhill very fast."

At the community centre, young Muslim women in headscarves are photographed at no cost for job applications. Turkish children play in the yard. And Meurer organises multi-religious celebrations.

Cardinal Joachim Meisner, archbishop of Cologne, set off a heated debate late last year when he directed Catholic school teachers in the region to stop participating in multi-religious events.

"All that matters to me about them is keeping peace in the area," Meurer remarked. "We don't pray together there. We get to know each other, which is possible only at get-togethers like that."

Weighing what the parish could buy for the mosque sparked a lively discussion about Islam, Meurer said.

"Our people were suggesting such things as a little kneeler, a bell, a picture and the like. But then I said, 'Friends, this isn't likely to lead anywhere. They pray to God one on one in their mosques. They haven't got liturgical objects like we do'."

About 350 euros (462 dollars) winds up in the collection bag on normal Sundays. This time, though, more than 1,000 euros has been collected in advance. DITIB officials said the amount of the gift was unimportant.

"It's simply a nice gesture by Mr Meurer," said Rafet Ozturk, DITIB's coordinator for interreligious dialogue. "We're pleased, of course. Even very pleased."

TOPICS: Catholic; Ecumenism; Islam; Ministry/Outreach

1 posted on 03/16/2007 6:58:06 AM PDT by Alex Murphy
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To: Alex Murphy

What do you expect when they put the likes of Hitler in power.

2 posted on 03/16/2007 7:12:14 AM PDT by mtbopfuyn (I think the border is kind of an artificial barrier - San Antonio councilwoman Patti Radle)
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To: mtbopfuyn

The world is full of nice, well meaning idiots!

3 posted on 03/16/2007 7:51:35 AM PDT by pgkdan (Tolerance is the virtue of the man without convictions - G.K. Chesterton)
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To: pgkdan

What a bunch of fools. I see we have the German version of "Fr. Social Justice" out there completely misunderstanding the world and his supposed faith again, as usual.

4 posted on 03/16/2007 7:53:50 AM PDT by livius
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To: livius

Can this be a problem due to a language barrier? Are Germans, like their French brethren so isolated that they live on fantasy island?

5 posted on 03/16/2007 8:16:12 AM PDT by x_plus_one (As long as we pretend to not be fighting Iran in Iraq, we can't pretend to win the war.)
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To: Alex Murphy

Oy vey!

6 posted on 03/16/2007 10:42:15 AM PDT by Theophane (Refuge of Sinners...pray for us.)
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To: Alex Murphy

Why not just give them the church to make over into a mosque?

7 posted on 03/16/2007 12:54:12 PM PDT by Macoraba
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To: Alex Murphy


8 posted on 03/16/2007 1:08:52 PM PDT by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: x_plus_one

I think it's a brain problem.

9 posted on 03/16/2007 1:22:16 PM PDT by livius
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To: Alex Murphy

No, no, no, no, no! There is no need to fund mosques. Saudi Arabia has been spending money like water building mosques all over the world. They do NOT need money for this. For shame.

10 posted on 03/16/2007 2:10:05 PM PDT by Unam Sanctam
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To: Alex Murphy
Support for s.a.tan ?

11 posted on 03/16/2007 2:35:46 PM PDT by Uri’el-2012 (you shall know that I, YHVH, your Savior, and your Redeemer, am the Elohim of Ya’aqob.”Isaiah 60:16)
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To: Alex Murphy
Christian community work for Meurer means things like installing public dog loos

This is one of those "it isn't Scrappleface, this is really happening" moments.

Public freaking dog loos? Taking up a collection to build a mosque?

With all due respect, Padre ... you've lost yer marbles.

12 posted on 03/16/2007 2:51:36 PM PDT by Campion ("I am so tired of you, liberal church in America" -- Mother Angelica, 1993)
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