Plans to lower height of Cologne mosque dropped

23rd August 2007, Comments 0 comments

23 August 2007, Cologne, Germany (dpa) - Plans to reduce the height of a planned mosque in the cathedral city of Cologne were dropped on Wednesday after objections by the architects. The Turkish mosque association Ditib said the mosque's two minarets would be 55 metres high, although some modifications would be made to the original design of the complex. Architect Paul Boehm said reducing the height of the minarets would have left them out of proportion with the rest of the building and surrounding structu

23 August 2007

Cologne, Germany (dpa) - Plans to reduce the height of a planned mosque in the cathedral city of Cologne were dropped on Wednesday after objections by the architects.

The Turkish mosque association Ditib said the mosque's two minarets would be 55 metres high, although some modifications would be made to the original design of the complex.

Architect Paul Boehm said reducing the height of the minarets would have left them out of proportion with the rest of the building and surrounding structures, such as a television tower and a high- rise block.

The Muslim minority has been facing vehement criticism in the city where there is a strong opposition to the 40-million-dollar (30- million-euro) mosque covering an area of 20,000 square metres.

The most widespread criticism has been that the proposed building would be too dominant. Plans call for it to have a 35-metre glass dome, space for 1,900 worshippers and a community centre with shops well as offices and a restaurant.

Boehm said the minarets would be more abstract and less traditional due to "organic changes in the dome-shaped construction of the mosque's prayer room."

Cologne Mayor Fritz Schramma had originally welcomed plans by Ditib to consider shortening the height of the minarets as a "first and an important step."

He said many city residents still had difficulty accepting the size of the mosque's domed roof in Cologne's Ehrenfeld inner-city area. Ditib said the mayor was happy with the latest compromise.

A recent survey of city residents by Omniquest pollsters showed 36 per cent favoured the original design, 31 per cent opposed the project and 27 per cent said they would accept a mosque on a smaller scale.

Ditib, backed by the Turkish ministry of religion, is a a major builder of mosques for ethnic Turkish Muslims in Germany.

Ralph Giordano, a novelist of Jewish origin with atheist views, has been one of the most vocal critics of the project. He said last month that mosques were "popping up like mushrooms and named after Ottoman conquerors."

He has also called on Muslims to learn secular values and integrate into German society.

Giordano received death threats for his criticism, but these were condemned by Ditib, which claims to represent a large section of the 3.2 million Muslims resident in Germany.

DPA

Subject: German news

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