At a conference at the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees entitled: “Islam and Integration,” the typical problems of whether Turkish culture or the Islamic faith was at fault and other such unanswerable academic questions were continually raised. One panellist, in an attempt to show the positive sides of integration, started by giving an historic overview of Islam in Germany. She showed a picture of the Wilmersdorf Mosque, which was built in Berlin between 1924 and 1928. The Wilmersdorf Mosque represents any student of culture’s dream project because one can see the transformation as well as the strife over a religious symbol.
The Mosque, built in the Moghul style by the German architect K.A. Hermann, was financed by the Ahmadiyya Anjuman religious community from Lahore, Pakistan to carry out missionary work in Germany and serve the small (cerca 1000) Muslim community living in Berlin. The Mosque was badly damaged during the war as the German troops had used the Minarets to fire on the Russians. However, after the war the Mosque was reconstructed by the British authorities.
Another panellist from Berlin reminded the earlier panellist that the Mosque had more of a modern history as well. In the 1970's Siemens made a postcard out of the mosque to send to Turkey. This postcard was supposed to show how Muslim friendly Germany was and encourage Turkish guest-workers to move to Germany to help supply able bodies for the post-war German industrial machine.
Many Germans and those from the west now see the mosque as a sign of danger. It’s funny how times change. Can anyone now imagine a western company using a mosque to attract laborers?
Posted by Aaron at June 23, 2005 01:17 PM