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Old 07-07-2007, 08:39 AM   #16
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Originally posted by LJT
Do Mosques have to be built in a certain style? Can a Mosque not be built to match the aesthetic of the area it is built in?

People might have less issue if it didn't seem so out of place?
http://www.koelnarchitektur.de/pages...tuell/1440.htm

On the right you can see the first three of five designs. I think the second one was a proposal to find an architecture that resembles other contemporary, western style buildings with certain aspects of a mosque. Here in Berlin you could see many buildings with a similar style, that are anything from museums to schools.

Some of the people living nearby had some very practical concerns: They are afraid of some traffic chaos, especially on Fridays. Others are worried about radical Islamists coming there. It's all kinds of concerns, but there have been "information evenings" and many people have found that their concerns are unfounded.

Again, Cologne has 100,000 Muslims. You can't serve them with many small mosques. A large mosque is the best solution. Also, the building will be used for many other things than just prayer and it will be a center for information, gathering, support and to invite non-Muslims to take some fear from that religion.
The smaller "mosques" in the city, which is buildings that are used as mosques, sometimes very shabby, will remain. So, the Muslims that more feel like you about large prayers will rather go there for their service.

The ditib is controlled by the Turkish government which has no interest in a radicalisation. It's an organisation representing many Turkish Muslims and is well respected.

I know of radical organisations funding or "planting" their Imams, and there is probably some radical Muslim in every larger city. One of the guys trying to plant bombs in trains near Cologne lived and studied in Kiel, a city with 200,000 inhabitants in the north of Germany.

But even worldwide I'm not comfortable with saying "mostly". First you would have to look at how many mosques have been built in recent years, and how many of those are now facing the problem of a radicalisation.
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Old 07-07-2007, 10:53 AM   #17
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It was a decision by all the parties, not him himself. And it is backed by the public.

I know you think differently, but as an atheist we have to accept that other people are religious, and to religion their belongs a church, synagogue, mosque or whatever.

If this was a church or synagogue there would be funding from the city as well.
All equally as wrong, it wouldn't matter if I was a Christian, Muslim or Zen Buddhist the notion that the state has no role persecuting or promoting religion is something that America deserves appreciation for and something that is lacking in many other supposedly progressive western nations (Australia definitely included).

Having taxpayers money go towards building religious centres is something that should have gone away with sodomy laws and prayers in schools.
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Old 07-07-2007, 11:17 AM   #18
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Originally posted by Vincent Vega
Cardinal Meisner is not "in the center of the German society". He is a very controverse and conservative person and pretty much in line with the Pope.
Who here is all that surprised that the Catholic Church is allied with far-right extremists? This only accents my point in the "modernity" thread.

Perhaps they would have been better served highlighting the difference between the religious tolerance of Europe and the general intolerance in much of the Muslim world. It is all the more interesting, considering that 70% of the Muslims mentioned in this article are Turkish, whereas Turkey has been suppressing the remnants of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

But no, I guess it is easier to be a hypocrite, demanding that the Muslim world open itself up to Christianity on one hand and then preach that Europe is Christian and has no place for Muslims on the other hand. Don't think that the Muslim world doesn't notice this.
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Old 07-07-2007, 11:20 AM   #19
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Wouldn't be the first time and won't be the last time.
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Old 07-07-2007, 11:37 AM   #20
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In Germany, church members are paying a church tax to the government. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_tax
There is some discussion about this as contradicting the dichotomy of church and state.
I would support an abolishment of the church tax because through tax deduction the government loses more than €3 billion annually in taxes, and because it's contradicting with secualrism, but to some minor extent.

However, we don't let the church have any influence on our political decisions whatsoever. They don't hold any power over political decisions.

Most of the federal money and the church tax itself come from the Weimar Republic and have been integrated into the Federal Republic in 1948.
There are voices to get rid of any of these payments or subsidies to the church, mostly because of secularity. But there are several reasons why I don't think that there will anything happen in the near future. Among other reasons it is lazyness because it would mean some extensive work by the government, and the majority of the population is still in church, although for many it's more a passive membership.
There is also some historical reasons for government payments towards the church, but it's disputable because today it's not really understood why we should still be in debt with the churches. But that's too much to write here, and I'm by no means an expert in that field.

Public buildings such as churches are partly funded by federal money, and it is argued that although all politics has to be independent from religion, the government sees some responsibilty in supporting religious groups and sects that are accepted by the state to ensure diversity, and they say, otherwise religious people would be disadvantaged as they would have to finance the churches entirely.

In Germany the taxpayer isn't whining about any single Euro that goes to finance something they don't agree on. Be it retirement payments, or public health care, or religion, solidarity generally trumps the philosophy, that my hard earned cash should only benefit what I agree on.
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Old 07-07-2007, 11:54 AM   #21
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Who here is all that surprised that the Catholic Church is allied with far-right extremists? This only accents my point in the "modernity" thread.
He has voiced similar views, but I think Meisner will do anything to not side with Pro-Köln or any of the other far-right parties or to ally with them.

I find it hilarious how Pro-Köln welcomed Ralph Giordano for his comments on the mosque, because in the end he is a Jew, which shows how those groups contradict themselves when it comes to populism.
On the one hand, they are against the mosque and the "Islamisation" and "Multicultisation" of Germany. On the other hand, the "classic bogeyman" for these idiots is the Jews.

In another case, the NPD, a nationwide far-right party, joined some Muslim radicals on a conference where they discussed how to destroy the state of Israel and go against the Jews living in Germany.
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Old 07-08-2007, 08:03 AM   #22
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Who here is all that surprised that the Catholic Church is allied with far-right extremists? This only accents my point in the "modernity" thread.

Witness Opus Dei. They're far right extremists. That's what made this whole thing sound like the "Syllabus of Errors" to me.
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Old 07-09-2007, 10:49 AM   #23
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I was using the word Wahabbi as a figure of speech. A synonym for radical or extremist. Its not unheard of to do so. Dont get so nit picky. Besides, Wahabbis have been quite successful in making inroads regardless of how tolerant the original culture of the community. So again, a Wahhabi infiltration would not be unheard of. I think it was a valid use of the word in my theoretical scenario since they are most often the culprits behind such takeovers.

No I didnt notice that "mostly" was used in the original article before the words "private funding" either. But I wasn't insisting anyway that the article was more correct than the later post which offered more details. I was just noting what I thought I had read. In other words the article did not offer details beyond the private designation. The word "private" has taken on some negative connotations in this context. For instance, it has been the case in the past where the true source of such private funding was not publically disclosed until the advent of a problem.

My original post was to try and demonstrate why a moderate and tolerant person might have a legitimate concern about such a building proposal. I don't like the idea of such people being lumped in with far right extremists which I have seen happen many times before. It was just an attempt to inject that type of a voice into the discussion. I believe that reasonable people can have valid concerns about issues such as these in that the threat of a growing radicalism happens to come as part of the whole package in these times. It is so intertwined with the greater community and at the moment, the greater community hasnt found a way to sort it all out yet. While that situation remains true, there are going to be justifiable concerns.

As for the far right being involved in this, I have to say that I have not one shred of sympathy for their ugly views. It is unfortunate that extremists on either side cloud or stigmatize what could be, should be and must be freely and publically discussed in a civil manner.
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Old 07-09-2007, 11:15 AM   #24
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But even worldwide I'm not comfortable with saying "mostly". First you would have to look at how many mosques have been built in recent years, and how many of those are now facing the problem of a radicalisation
I believe that I made it clear that I was talking about large to very large mosques. (I would also add to this number some of the smaller national type or showplace type mosques. The case in Dublin involves a small national showplace type.) Of the total that have been built worldwide in recent years, I would have to think that these would be a small part of that number as such large structures would be beyond the means of most. Thats where the mostly comes in. In recent years, whereever there has been grand plans for a new mosque, more often than not, as in "most" of the time, a great part of the funding can be traced back (as it is often very cleverly concealed) to a radical group of some type which is swimming in money usually from oil but sometimes also from charitable donations. In fact a charity group front is not unusual in either case.

I think it is well documented how successful such radical infiltration has been even in traditionally moderate societies. I think it has been successful enough to justify the use of the word "mostly". The success of such efforts at radicalization has been the story, the major new trend among all Muslim populations worldwide in recent years. This includes the Turks BTW.

While those won over by these efforts may still be a minority of these populations (in the Turkish case a very small but still growing one), the recent upsurge in the activity of these groups could be reasonably said to account for a greater proportion of recent building projects worldwide. After all, the moderates already have their mosques, don't they? Often these are of the more traditional, more intimate neighborhood types. Its the radicals that seem to be the most interested in huge, modern and impressive building projects. Whatsmore, they too often find some Muslim "charity" that is more than willing to fund the project.
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Old 07-09-2007, 11:26 AM   #25
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Oops! Obviously havent mastered the finer points of posting here.

Now I see the quote button. But how to italicize? Hmmmm...
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Old 07-09-2007, 12:29 PM   #26
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Yolland,

By everyone "doing their own thing" I mean what many call being moved by the Spirit ie dancing or other movement as the individual feels moved to do so. Its individualistic so the effect is to give a more chaotic impression.

I wasn't going to put a finer point on my comments but since you addressed them, I would like to do so now.

I think that all corporate worship, in some sense, is designed to manipulate the worshipper through the senses. I agree with you on that. However I don't agree that means that all forms of worship are equally manipulative. I think the various forms differ as to degree and kind.

Take your example of the seeming similarity between a large congregation of Muslims in India and a large Catholic congregation in St Peters. Then we'll also consider the mega-church with its individualistic yet massive character a bit more.

In the mosque, there is very little to modify or moderate the mass unified movements. No physical barriers. The movements are quite broad and so visually more impressive. In the Catholic Church, there are pews which modifies broad movements like kneeling and other congregation wide motions and gestures are in general more subtle, such as making the sign of the Cross. Just think of thousands of people dropping to the floor in an instant vs the Catholic worship you witnessed to see what I mean. There is a difference in degree.

Also, there is a difference in kind. I can't speak as an expert in Islamic worship but my understanding of public prayer is that it is very regimented and quite brief. Everyone says or thinks the same words at the same time and makes the same motions while doing it. A sermon occurs at some point and its over. I know, because I am Catholic, that Catholic worship is designed to enhance a contemplative form of worship. Movement is limited, at times optional and opportunities for private prayer are built in. There is a rhythm to it that becomes second nature. Many people speak of switching effortlessly between private prayer and corporate prayer as it goes along (the parts where this is possible of course. ) This practice is facilitated by that memorized rhythm.

This is not to demonstrate any kind of superiority but just to give an idea on what some of the differences are. I think it can be reasonably said that the Muslim form of worship is more naturally and more assertively designed to impress visually and
to create maximum overload to that sense to give assistence to the claim that Islam perfectly unifies the human race and erases divisions etc. There are those then that have caught onto this and take it to its furthest extremes ie mega mosques. Catholic worship seeks more to visually inpress in a different way, to move the individual worshipper more closely into the quiet dark depths of the divine. This is not to say that there is no attempt to impress with numbers or with grand gestures. Only to say that the emphasis or focus is different, that it is less concerned with outward unity and more concerned with effecting an inward unity by moving the whole group, as individuals, in this manner, to one inner contemplative space.

The mega-church seeks first to visually impress with numbers. I think this is the primary effect as often the architecture is designed to show numbers off to best effect. Many are basically amphitheaters in a bowl stadium shape. The goal of this visual impression, the loud music etc is to effect a safe, easy means to an ecstatic we-are-part-of-a-great-"one" sort of state like a rock concert does. So, the individualistic dancing, arm waving etc. I am sure there are those who would disagree with me on this but this is the definite impression that I get.

As I have already indicated, my personal preference is for that combination of personal contemplation and corporate worship, absent the grand imposing scale of a St Peters, that I find in my mid-sized Catholic congregation. I find there an ideal balance of unity and individuality. I love singing the hymns with gusto with my parish family and I appreciate the opportunities to be alone with God in a heightened state not always so easy to get to on my own.

I realize that I have gone on just a bit so I won't say anymore. But feel free to reply. I may have said enough on the subject but I look forward to anything that you might have to add.
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Old 07-09-2007, 01:06 PM   #27
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There's no evidence that the Saudis are funding this. They fund just about all of the Wahhabi mosques, which are very unlike the Turkish mosques built in Germany. There are many anti-Wahhabist books published in Istanbul.
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Old 07-09-2007, 04:14 PM   #28
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verte76,

I didn't say that they are. I am not talking about the funding for this mosque.

Whatsmore, I fail to see how "many anti-Wahhabi books" means that there is no cause for concern from any Turks. As if this was somehow proof that the Turks are immune to radical Islam.

The truth is that no, let me repeat, no Muslim country or culture is immune to this radicalism. In every such culture and country, the Islamist threat is growing. If the traditions of centuries can't keep it out or keep it down, what is a few books gonna do? The Wahabbis are succeeding in cultures that have never known it before, where it is alien to the native tradition.

What do you call those radicals who killed those Christian missionaries? Were they figments of imagination because there are so many anti-radical books published in Instanbul? Do the books keep radicals away somehow? What about other instances of hate crimes against minority Christians in Turkey? The several cases of beating deaths for converts following their consciences? What about the very strong attempts to restore the veil in public institutions? What about the Turks voting for a conservative religious party to lead them?

In others words, no one, not even the Turks are "safe" I doesnt matter how many people march or publish. One after the other, the moderates are under seige everywhere. In the US, in Europe, in Turkey, Bosnia and on and on. Lets not pretend that for one group this is somehow not a possibility.
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Old 07-09-2007, 09:33 PM   #29
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My original post was to try and demonstrate why a moderate and tolerant person might have a legitimate concern about such a building proposal. I don't like the idea of such people being lumped in with far right extremists which I have seen happen many times before. It was just an attempt to inject that type of a voice into the discussion. I believe that reasonable people can have valid concerns about issues such as these in that the threat of a growing radicalism happens to come as part of the whole package in these times.
I do appreciate your point, and can accept that the reality simply is that a 'hypothetical average' Westerner would likely feel more anxiety over the news that a mosque (large or not) will be constructed in their neighborhood than they would over the news that a church will be. This doesn't mean, though, that my reaction to hearing such anxieties voiced is simply to nod sympathetically and not question the assumptions underlying that anxiety. Allowing visceral-fear-type responses to the increasing visibility of a local religious minority to run unchecked is disastrous for interreligious dialogue and, not incidentally, social integration as well (and therefore itself dangerous). Furthermore, in a case such as the present one, there's simply no excuse for not doing the small amount of research it would take to realize that DITIB is not an extremist organization.
Quote:
Of the total that have been built worldwide in recent years, I would have to think that these would be a small part of that number as such large structures would be beyond the means of most. Thats where the mostly comes in. In recent years, whereever there has been grand plans for a new mosque, more often than not, as in "most" of the time, a great part of the funding can be traced back (as it is often very cleverly concealed) to a radical group of some type which is swimming in money usually from oil but sometimes also from charitable donations. In fact a charity group front is not unusual in either case.
I think arguing this point is probably a lost cause, since neither you nor I--nor, most likely, anyone else--have the hard data needed to quantify it. In 2004 (8/19) the Washington Post estimated the number of Saudi-funded mosques (or more correctly, mosques constructed with the help of Saudi money since 1975), worldwide, to be about 1500. I have no idea what a rough estimate of the total number of mosques constructed worldwide since 1975 might look like (China alone, which of course isn't a majority-Muslim country, is estimated to presently have 35,000 mosques, for what little that stat might be worth). Nor do I have any idea how many newer mosques in either category would be considered "large", as in over ____ square feet; nor how many might be considered "radical" according to ____'s definition.

As far as Wahhabist-bankrolled mosques being a historically unprecedented phenomenon, yes, that one's pretty much a no-brainer, since the confluence of circumstances leading to it didn't come together until the late 20th century...the House of Saud's military alliance with Wahhabist tribes and their subsequent joint conquests across the Arabian peninsula; the Treaty of Jedda granting Saudi independence from the UK; the discovery of oil and subsequent economic boom; and the fears generated by real or perceived threats like Nasser's pan-Arabism, the Iranian Revolution, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and the siege of the Grand Mosque in Mecca. It's unquestionably a real phenomenon, and Western intelligence officials continue to debate how much the Saudi government has really done to clamp down on radicals since the '5/12' Riyadh bombings; but, at any rate, that doesn't address questions as to the scale of the 'trend', nor, more importantly, as to what an appropriate response from "the greater community" ought to consist of.
Quote:
In the mosque, there is very little to modify or moderate the mass unified movements. No physical barriers. The movements are quite broad and so visually more impressive. In the Catholic Church, there are pews which modifies broad movements like kneeling and other congregation wide motions and gestures are in general more subtle, such as making the sign of the Cross. Just think of thousands of people dropping to the floor in an instant vs the Catholic worship you witnessed to see what I mean. There is a difference in degree.

Also, there is a difference in kind. I can't speak as an expert in Islamic worship but my understanding of public prayer is that it is very regimented and quite brief. Everyone says or thinks the same words at the same time and makes the same motions while doing it. A sermon occurs at some point and its over. I know, because I am Catholic, that Catholic worship is designed to enhance a contemplative form of worship. Movement is limited, at times optional and opportunities for private prayer are built in. There is a rhythm to it that becomes second nature. Many people speak of switching effortlessly between private prayer and corporate prayer as it goes along (the parts where this is possible of course. ) This practice is facilitated by that memorized rhythm.

This is not to demonstrate any kind of superiority but just to give an idea on what some of the differences are. I think it can be reasonably said that the Muslim form of worship is more naturally and more assertively designed to impress visually and to create maximum overload to that sense to give assistence to the claim that Islam perfectly unifies the human race and erases divisions etc. There are those then that have caught onto this and take it to its furthest extremes ie mega mosques. Catholic worship seeks more to visually inpress in a different way, to move the individual worshipper more closely into the quiet dark depths of the divine. This is not to say that there is no attempt to impress with numbers or with grand gestures. Only to say that the emphasis or focus is different, that it is less concerned with outward unity and more concerned with effecting an inward unity by moving the whole group, as individuals, in this manner, to one inner contemplative space.
You write quite lyrically about your experience of your own worship tradition. But I really don't think that experience can be separated from the fact that you know it from the inside, and are thus aware of all kinds of nuances and interpretive possibilities to it that an 'outsider' wouldn't and couldn't see. I didn't personally find any of the Catholic services I've observed 'more subtle' than any of the Muslim services...but then, unfamiliar worship rituals seldom appear subtle (even if you have passable 'book knowledge' of them, as I did in both cases). In my own experience having brought 'guests' along on a few occasions, Jewish services also often appear "very regimented" and filled with 'strange motions' to visitors, with our prescribed sequences of required daily prayers, blessings and hymns in Hebrew in addition to readings and sermons; people bowing, swaying, sitting then standing in unison while reciting, etc. And to a point, I actually agree with that--having grown up in a small Southern town where all my friends were evangelicals of some sort or another, I've attended my share of such services as a guest, and they did indeed often seem quite loosely formatted to me (Catholic services have never struck me that way though, either as described or as observed). But I don't think whether or not an individual congregant reaches an "inner contemplative state" has much direct relationship to the particulars of how these services are structured. As you put it, simply having a "memorized rhythm" to follow, a familiar routine combined with familiar words which mean something profound to you, can itself facilitate contemplativeness. Just as the act of gathering together with others to pray--important to all three Abrahamic faiths--can occasion a heightened sense of wonderment at the gift of sharing a life in service to God with others.

I'm not trying to argue that there's some kind of universal human worship experience that transcends all formats--there's no way I could know if that's true. But if I wanted to try for a better understanding of what the experience of communal worship is like for Muslims, I'd start by asking some of them.
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Old 07-10-2007, 12:29 AM   #30
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But if I wanted to try for a better understanding of what the experience of communal worship is like for Muslims, I'd start by asking some of them.
Yolland,

I will reply briefly to this comment. I was addressing my comments to how a worship service would appear to a first time observer not an expert as the role they play in gaining converts and expressing the values of that faith to one who doesnt know it. Yes, I did put a bit of personal testimony in there to clarify my point about the differences to be found between worship traditions. I'm sorry if I obscured my point by doing so. But in the main, I was talking about first-time impressions.

BTW, I have spoken with many Muslims throughout my life about their religion both online and in person and have read many personal accounts of conversions and desriptions of the faith written by Muslims. I won't go into the details of my investigations here but I think that i would still say that the actual experience is different as the goals and the theology are different. The same is true of all religions. The subtle differences in theology and in worship are reflected in the physical means of worship. Vice versa, the physical means is designed to allow for the acheivement of a certain desired state of mind and spirit. If it seems like I was implying that no higher state is achieved in Muslim corporate worship, then I didnt mean that. I just meant to describe some real physical differences and how these reflect different ideals or emphasis.
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