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Protests mar mosque opening ceremony

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Protests mar mosque opening ceremony


The opening of the first mosque in the formerly communist eastern part of Germany has been greeted with angry protests.

About 200 people chanting anti-Muslim slogans demonstrated as the as the Khadija mosque in Berlin was unveiled.

Attacks on the site and opposition from the far right National Democratic Party have hampered construction work.

Local politician, Wolfgang Thierse, Vice President of the Grman Lower House of Parliament said: “I understand people have worries, and prejudices have a lot to do with the unknown, and that is why I think you can overcome prejudices through knowledge.”

The resistance has highlighted Germany’s difficulty in integrating its 3.2 milion Muslims into mainstream society, especially in the former communist regions where few have settled.

Abdullah Uwe Wagishauser, Chairman of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community said: “There is a phobia of Islam in Germany, and in part it is justified. In many Islamic countries there is no freedom of religion, no freedom of opinion and many Christians criticise this, and they have the right to do so. But we represent a kind of Islam fighting for freedoms.”

The Ahmadiyya movement, whose slogan is “Love for all – hatred for no-one”, was founded in India in the 19th century.

It defines itself as Muslim but is not recognised by many Muslim groups.

Germany is home to about 2,500 mosque communities and has 2,250 active Imams.

Most German Muslims are of Turkish origin.

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