Protests greet first new mosque in former East Berlin

Berlin (dpa) – Scattered protests Tuesday accompanied a ground-breaking ceremony for the first-ever mosque in what used to be Communist East Berlin.

The two-storey building with a 12-metre-tall minaret is being built for the Ahmadiyya Muslim community on a former industrial site in the suburb of Heinersdorf.

The mosque, which will be able to accommodate 500 worshippers, was expected to be completed by the end of year, said the chairman of the sect’s Berlin branch, Abdul Basit Tariq.

Around 50 protesters were at the ceremony, some carrying placards reading, ‘No Mosque.’ Police evicted three left-wing demonstrators after a scuffle over a placard in support of the mosque.


Theologically, Ahmadiyya is a cult of Islam. Their views about Jesus Christ, the Prophet Muhammad, and their own founder, whom they regard as the Messiah, have placed them at odds with the rest of the Muslim world.

Ahmadiyyas and their mosques often come under terrorist attacks from mainstream Muslims. The latter apparently feel that they present the world with a more accurate picture of Islam.

Residents of Heinersdorf have been protesting for months against the planned mosque, arguing that the sect had no members living anywhere near the site.

The Muslim group said it had been looking to build a new mosque because it had outgrown its present community centre in the west Berlin suburb of Reinickendorf.

The Ahmadiyya community was founded at the end of the 19th century in what was then British India. It claims to represent the latter day renaissance of Islam.

The sect, which is classed as peaceful by the German domestic intelligence service, has 200 members in Berlin and operates more than a dozen mosques in Germany.

Expatica is the #1 English-language news & information source for expatriates living in, working in or moving to the Netherlands (Holland), Germany, France, Belgium or Spain.


(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
, DPA, via Expatica, Jan. 2, 2007,

Religion News Blog posted this on Tuesday January 2, 2007.
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