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The Cologne Axial Abbey has been authoritative account recently, and the furnishings accept not all been negative. On the contrary: An abnormally ample cardinal of curious, non-Muslim visitors abounding this year’s abbey Accessible Day.

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“If not now, again when?” anticipation Dana and Julia. The two adolescent women accept travelled from their hometown of Olpe to the Axial Abbey in Cologne, not admitting but absolutely because of the abrogating account surrounding its aperture by the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

It’s already adamantine abundant for Muslims, Dana and Julia say. Too abounding bodies are activity about with prejudices and aberrant fears. For these two women, accommodating in the abbey accessible day was additionally a way of signaling that Islam is allotment of Germany.

Dana, Julia and the added visitors accept been sitting on the bendable dejected carpeting in the big adoration allowance of the Axial Mosque, alert to the speaker’s words of welcome.

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Read more: Islam in Germany: Muslim adopt to be talked to rather than talked about

The atmosphere is airy and peaceful. Abounding of the visitors are active snapping photos, angry their active aback to adore the 35-meter-high (115 feet) cellophane dome. Light floods in, bushing the allowance and lighting up the gold calligraphy on the walls.

The “Open Day at the Mosque” has taken abode every year back 1997. This year, about 900 houses of adoration opened their doors to visitors, including the Axial Abbey in Cologne — the better abbey in Europe alfresco Turkey. The adoration allowance can authority up to 1,200 worshippers, but it doesn’t accept abounding visitors yet. Little by little added guests alpha arriving. At aboriginal journalists assume to be in the majority. No abruptness there — this abbey is famous, not aloof because of its size.

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Finished at aftermost afterwards nine years, this absorbing architecture of steel, bottle and accurate is the axial abbey of the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DITIB). The affiliation has continued been admired as an apparatus of Ankara, rather than an absolute German organization. The actuality that it was the Turkish admiral who opened the abbey aftermost Saturday has acquired a lot of displeasure.

Today, the affiliation abbot of North Rhine-Westphalia, Joachim Stamp, additionally gives an abode — and he takes the befalling to criticize DITIB. “I would accept admired the commencement of the abbey to accept been a attribute of German Islam,” he said, while accepting the Turkish admiral accessible it had accustomed a altered impression.

“That absolutely takes the cake. Not alike the artist attended!” an aged woman declares. She doesn’t appetite to accord her name, but says she’s affronted at how the aperture went aftermost weekend. “It was an befalling for Turks and Germans to bless together.”

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Read more: German Islamic affiliation denied religious acquaint in school

Her appearance of the abbey itself isn’t atramentous by this accident though, she says. The abbey is able of actuality aloof as able an access for affiliation as added houses of God: “But anybody charge contribute.” Both the woman and the acquaintance with her accede it their assignment to appear actuality and acquaint themselves about Islam and about the mosque.

“A lot of analytical non-Muslims accept come,” says Cengiz Özen, who is himself a company and a Muslim. He’s pleased. He thinks abounding bodies are analytical about this abbey in accurate — because of Erdogan, of course. Actually, though, he says, that shouldn’t be a reason. “Just as Muslims should appointment churches, non-Muslims should be able to appear to mosques. Days like these advice annihilate prejudices adjoin Muslims.”

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The Accessible Day at the Mosque, which is carefully captivated on the aforementioned day as the anniversary of German unification, aims to actualize a amplitude for acquaintance amid Muslims and non-Muslims. The abbey offers tours, invites bodies to appear lectures and allows guests silently to participate in the prayers. Chat is the abracadabra word.

Not anybody thinks it’s a acceptable thing. Sabri says the Accessible Day offers not chat but “Dialüg” — in added words, that it’s a lie. The 38-year-old with the apparent bristles came to see what angel of Islam is actuality conveyed to the non-Muslims. His cessation is the aforementioned every year: That it’s an inauthentic one. Sabri believes that, for it to be authentic, Islam charge be lived absolutely as it has been handed bottomward in the Quran and the Sunna, the anatomy of Islamic custom and convenance based on Muhammad’s words and deeds. For him, then, this abbey accessible day is a farce.

Read more: Muslims ‘integrate’ able-bodied into Germany — but aren’t accepted

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For anybody else, it’s a adventitious to get into chat and to see with their own eyes article that was ahead aberrant and unfamiliar. As they analyze all the nooks and crannies of the complex, the faces of best visitors are accessible and interested. Sabri, on the added hand, has already baffled a retreat. And of advance there are others who won’t airing up the accomplish to the capital access of the Axial Mosque, alike on a day like this.

Author: Julia Vergin

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