Is anyone interested in Koran courses?

The never-ending story of the Filder Mosque

A mosque association has long wanted to build a new house of prayer. There are always problems. And a conservative Muslim association has come under fire. Why has hardly anyone been interested in the teachings of the mosque and association so far?

Leinfelden-Echterdingen - a new mosque in town? "That is a very difficult question," says the sweaty hobby racing cyclist who stops in front of the shell in Oberaichen. The concrete outer walls of the new "Eyüp Sultan Camii" are in the industrial area near the S-Bahn station in the district of Leinfelden-Echterdingen (Esslingen district), but only on the ground floor. There is a gaping world between the modernist model of the mosque on the large building sign and the actual construction progress. "How should one proceed now?" Asks the man with a view to the smoldering conflict over the new construction of the mosque, which is now threatening to escalate.

The mosque association "Association for Culture, Education and Integration" (VKBI) cannot keep the contractually agreed date for the completion of its prayer house until the end of October. The city administration is angry because of numerous non-kept commitments by the association. Lord Mayor Roland Klenk (CDU) therefore wants, as the “Filderzeitung” reported, to reclaim the leasehold property from the mosque association. The associated obligation of the association to tear down everything that has been built so far is what the top management wants to suspend - at least for the time being. With this “compromise solution”, Klenk wants to “not torpedo the mosque project, but rather place it on a new, reliable basis”.

For some citizens this does not go far enough. For example Kurt Alber from the Bürgergemeinschaft Oberaichen (BGO): He too wants the city to reclaim the property, but no longer wants a mosque there. "The city could also use what has been built so far in a different way, for example as a primary school or music school for Oberaichen." On this Tuesday, the municipal council decides in the non-public part of its meeting on the explosive agenda item 14: "VKBI: Assertion of the reversal claim", like the The mayor's proposal is officially called.

The zoning plan is changed for church use

Muslims have been praying in a former workers' settlement in an industrial area in Echterdingen for over 30 years. In 2005 the mosque association VKBI was founded. According to its own information, it has 110 members, but “more people come” to the Friday prayer in the old walls at Karlsruher Strasse 15-17, reports the association's chairman Hasan Matur. For many years the association has been trying to find a new mosque at a new location - in the end, the municipal council even changed the development plan to enable church use in the industrial area.

Initially, the architects' plans for a cube-shaped prayer house for 300 visitors received a lot of applause. In addition to prayer and side rooms, separate for men and women, a dormitory for 25 students, as well as a supermarket with snack bar and café are planned. The estimated construction costs for the Filder Mosque climb rapidly to 3.5 million euros. A lot of money for an association that states that it has no capital when it is founded. The groundbreaking has been delayed: instead of 2010, 2017 will take place. And even then, the building rights office is repeatedly forced to impose a construction freeze. Sometimes the slope of the excavation pit is too steep, sometimes an additional dining room is planned without a permit. "The VKBI was an extremely unreliable partner," says OB Klenk, frustrated. "We were never really informed about the financing either."

It is just strange that no one in the community has ever asked about the ideological orientation of the association and especially its controversial umbrella organization “Association of Islamic Cultural Centers” (VIKZ) in Cologne. The local association chairman Matur denies that his association spreads Turkish conservative teachings, but at the same time he is sure that a reform Islam, where men and women pray together, "has nothing to do with Islam".

Erdogan propaganda on Facebook

It is also strange that Matur denies that his club is close to the controversial Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The treasurer of his association, Selcuk Celik, posts Erdogan propaganda on Facebook. SPD parliamentary group leader Erich Klauser defends the mosque association "because there were never any problems". He knows some active members, including small businesses and airport employees with special security clearance. "Some of the women wear headscarves, but they are still well integrated."

The Cologne Federal Association in particular has been criticized for years. The now emeritus Islamic scholar Ursula Spuler-Stegemann prepared an expert opinion for the Hessian Ministry of Social Affairs as early as 2004. Your analysis: The VIKZ stands for "extremely conservative ideas", is "Sharia-loyal with the corresponding image of women" and acts at most "seemingly open". Even then, the association rejected this as “factually incorrect” and “tendentious”. However, Hesse prohibited the establishment of VIKZ student dormitories.

For Birgül Akpinar, board member of the Southwest CDU, the VIKZ hostels, holiday camps and Koran courses “ultimately make integration more difficult” for the youth. Even for the CDU extremism expert there is no doubt: "Although people like to present themselves to the outside world as apolitical and neutral, the members of nationalist and Islamic-conservative parties feel represented in Turkey and exercise political influence." also organized in the Coordination Council of Muslims and practiced there “solidarity with more than questionable associations”, she criticizes with a view to the cooperation with Ditib, Milli Görüs and the Muslim Brotherhood.

"How do you think the Turkish media react?"

Kazim Per, Vice President of the VIKZ and long-time General Secretary of the regional association, rejects this criticism. The Stuttgart real estate agent acts as a consultant for the mosque project in Oberaichen. He is fighting for the city not to assert its right to reversal, "because of a few months late". The association is threatened with bankruptcy. “But the people wouldn't be gone.” Should Leinfelden-Echterdingen exercise its rights, including demolition, “we will take legal action,” says Per. “Then the world will find out about it. How do you think the Turkish media would react to it? ”These sentences, presented in a soft, friendly voice, do not sound like threats, but they clearly seem like them.

It is precisely at this point that the Green City Councilor Ingrid Grishchenko has her thoughts: "When making the decision in the local council, we have to remember that the people in Oberaichen must continue to get along with each other." Reject mosque, reject Islam as a whole. But that is not a solution. She likes the compromise proposal of the OB. She could live with a heavily scaled-down building for a prayer house - without a dormitory. But whether the local council and mosque association will get involved is open.

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