Ex-Muslims agree: “Nothing good has ever come out of a mosque”
Turkish born author Arzu Toker, co-Chair of the Central Council of Ex-Muslims of Germany, talks about an Islamic group’s plan to build an imposing mosque within sight of the historic Cologne Cathedral; translated by World Politics Review: Islam in Europe: An Interview With Arzu Toker on the Cologne Mosque.
Konkret: Why do some people say that Cologne has to have a mosque?
Toker: There is not a single verse in the Quran that sets out the requirement of a mosque. Muslims could just as well pray in a park, for example. The building is not necessary. Mosques first came into being when Muslims conquered Christian and Jewish territories where there were already churches or synagogues and they converted them into mosques. What is going on in Cologne is a demonstration of power. The Islamic associations are on the rise. They already have a seat at the negotiating table with the government and now they think they are powerful enough to have a mosque in the middle of town.
Konkret: And why are you against the mosque?
Toker: It is not about the building. It’s about politics. I am not against it because I don’t like the architecture, but because of what is taught in mosques. Five times a day, one is called to prayer with the words “There is only one Allah and Mohammed is his prophet.” The call to prayer is thus necessarily tied to the negation of Christianity. How can that be acceptable? The Muslims could say “No, we don’t deny Christianity”, but they are completely incapable of critical self-reflection. Besides, nothing positive has ever come out of the mosques: calls for social integration, for instance. On the contrary, what comes out of the mosques is always alienated from the surrounding society. Apart from that, mosques are the domain of men: the men sit up front and the women in the back, banned behind a curtain.
Last May, the controversy over the Cologne mosque project took on a new dimension when the renowned German journalist and historian of the Third Reich, Ralph Giordano, joined the ranks of the mosque critics. Giordano argued that the mosque project sent the “wrong signal” and claimed that the integration of Muslims in Germany had “failed.” As proof for his claim, he pointed to the presence of fully veiled women on the streets of Cologne, whom he described as resembling “human penguins.” “I do not want to see women wearing burqas on German streets!” Giordano exclaimed.
Giordano’s remarks provoked a wave of indignation and accusations that he was making common cause with Nazis and racists. These accusations were made all the more piquant by the fact that the 84-year-old Giordano’s own first-hand experience of Nazi racial persecution as the son of a Jewish mother is the core theme of his writings. But according to the Turkish-born author and Cologne resident Arzu Toker, there are also many opponents of the mosque project to be found among the very people whom Germany’s Islamic associations are presumed to represent: namely, the some 3 million or so residents of Germany, the majority of them of Turkish descent, who are commonly described as “Muslims,” whether they practice Islam or not. Toker, a critic of the increasing influence of the Islamic associations in German public life, is the co-chair of the Central Council of Ex-Muslims of Germany. She spoke with the German monthly Konkret.
‘Hijab, burka & niqab are offensive to me,- and anyhow: What’s the world coming to when I can’t speak out against an alien cult for fear of having a fatwa issued against me..?