February 12, 2013

The German Church and Islamic Territory

Statue of St. Michael's Victory over Satan at St. Michael's Church in Hamburg, Germany, a church not slated for conversion at this time.

Statue of St. Michael’s Victory over Satan at St. Michael’s Church in Hamburg, Germany, a church not slated for conversion at this time.

By Faith McDonnell (@Cuchulain09)

In a Gatestone Institute article on February 12, Soeren Kern writes of empty German churches being converted into mosques for Germany’s growing Muslim population.

The latest church conversion is taking place in Hamburg, where the historic Kapernaumkirche (Capernaum Church) and associated property, a cultural heritage site, was sold in 2005 to the Al-Nour Islamic Center. But Kern reveals that from “Berlin to Dortmund to Mönchengladbach, the gradual proliferation of mosques housed in former churches reflects the rise of Islam as the fastest growing religion in post-Christian Germany.”

Feelings vary on shrinking German church-going population (possibly 400 Roman Catholic churches and 100 Protestant churches closed since 2000, and another 700 Roman Catholic churches scheduled for closing over the next few years). Kern indicates that the major German newspapers appear to take the changing culture philosophically and tell the news in editorials with such titles as “When Mosques Replace Churches,” and “Tenant Allah.”

Church leaders in Germany are not as acquiescent. Kern says that “many have responded to the situation with a sense of unease and foreboding.” He quotes Roman Catholic and Lutheran clergy, as well as Christian political leaders who are resistant to the development and wish to pose “attractive building alternatives.”

What these leaders fail to understand, or don’t want to understand, is that such alternatives could never be as attractive as taking over a Christian church is for Islam. As the Rev. Dr. Patrick Sookhdeo has written in his book Faith, Power, and Territory, “Islam is unique among the major world religions in its emphasis on state structures and governance, which are considered to be of as much importance as private belief and morality (if not more).”

Speaking of the critical need for Christians in Islam-dominated countries to have buildings to an American Christian audience raised on the truth that “the Church is the people, not the buildings” — yet never faced with the horror of their building blown up or burned to the ground by jihadists, so ensconced comfortably within said buildings — Sookhdeo explained the significance of territory to Islam.

Western Christians may romanticize the idea of African Christians worshipping God under a tree, but Islamists see this as a lack of territory, power, and influence for the Church.  Build a mosque, or in the case of Germany and so many other places now in the West, convert a Christian church into a mosque, and you have taken that territory from the Dar al-Harb (the region where Islam does not dominate) and claimed it for the Dar al-Islam (the region where Islam is sovereign). Every mosque is a power base. This is why German Christian leaders are right to feel unease and a sense of foreboding.

The people of Hamburg ought to be just as alarmed that last November their Socialist mayor, Olaf Scholz, signed a “State treaty” with the Muslim communities of the city. Kern quotes Jorg Frooman of the Christian Democratic Party who says that the City of Hamburg “guaranteed that Islamic religious communities have the right, within the framework of applicable laws, to build and operate mosques, prayer and meeting rooms, educational institutions and other community organizations according to their own discretion. This includes ensuring the right to equip Islamic mosques with domes and minarets.” Treaty signatory, Daniel Abdin, the Chairman of the Al-Noor Center, assures, “Do not worry, the muezzin will not shout from the minaret.”

Entering into treaties with non-Muslims has been one of the most successful methods used by Islam to gain territory and power throughout 1200 years of history. Kern quotes Luthern pastor Ulrich Rüß from northern Germany, who says that the situation reveals “how far secularization and the strengthening of the Islamic religious claim to power has advanced in our society.” Hamburg is now just the latest example of the speed with which a culture is transformed when a once vibrant Christianity is dead or dying.

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  • Gus Ravenwheel

    I’m unclear on the point here: Is the author suggesting that Muslims should not be able to buy buildings that used to house churches?

    Is the author suggesting that churches shutting down ought to refuse to sell their former building to Muslims?

    Is the author suggesting that “allowing” domes and minarets is a problem and that Muslim buildings ought not be allowed to do this (presumably, by weight of law)?

    Surely not.

    So, what IS the point? Just that some Muslims might feel like it’s a “triumph” to purchase a building that formerly housed a church? Okay, why not let them feel that way? What is the alternative?

    ~Dan Trabue

  • Jeremy Baines

    There is no alternative, so we ought to break into the Multiculti Diversity dance and congratulate ourselves for being tolerant and inclusive and all that. If a group of people is inevitably going to rule over you, do the obvious thing and act like you wanted it to happen. Muslims are supposed to rule over infidels, and our stupid Christian ancestors were foolish enough to resist that, and look what happened – kept Muslims out of Europe for 4 centuries. In all that time the Christians should have been in the state of dhimmitude, 2nd-class citizens with their religion tightly restricted.

    Sensitive and cowardly, er, commpassionate people should all be glad this is happening. When George “Einstein” Bush said “Islam is a religion of peace,” he was exactly right, because Islam is taking over Europe very peacefully, and guess what location is next on the agenda?

    • Gus Ravenwheel

      And I’m unclear on your point, Jeremy, unless it’s just be awkward and sarcastic.

      Muslims have every right in free nations to buy buildings they want to buy that are for sale. Right?

      We don’t want to try to impose religious restrictions by force of law upon people we don’t like, do we?

      I, for one, do not find Islam to be that compelling a religion. I’m sure it has its good points, but they are pretty heavily weighed against by some of its bad points. I’m not afraid of their freedom to buy buildings or to raise domes and minarets. Are you?

      Are you afraid that, in the marketplace of ideas, Islam is going to beat out your philosophies?

      What is your point?

      ~Dan

      • Jeremy Baines

        No point, just wanted to see if your knee-jerk reflex was as predictable as I thought, and clearly it is. whatever happens, a pacifist thinks it’s fine – well, unless it’s done by the Boy Scouts or evangelicals. To them it’s “Change your position, that’s what God wants!” To the Muslims – “Come on in, lots of room here!” very brave.

        Islam is not going to “beat out” philosophies in the marketplace of ideas, as ideas have never been its strong point, which is why His Nibs had to rely on the old Arab reliable, jihad, which has a knack for stomping all philosophies into the ground. Islam will win because the Europeans have no confidence in any philosophy or any God. All the swinging gay guys in Amsterdam are already reaping the benefits of their multiculti. When it comes to taking sides with gays or Muslims, won’t that put you in a quandary? I’m betting you’ll side with the Muslims, and boy will you take a ribbing on this site.

      • Gus Ravenwheel

        Jeremy…

        whatever happens, a pacifist thinks it’s fine

        ? I did not say “whatever happens, it’s fine.” On the other hand, do I have even one single problem with a group of Muslims, or pagans, or Rightwing activists or people wanting to start a disco purchasing a BUILDING that was formerly used as a church?

        No. Why would I? It’s a free country and I am OPPOSED to legislating against religious liberty.

        What possible reason would I have to care a whit about who buys a building that was formerly used as a church?

        Answer that question, rather than make lame and demonstrably false attempts to misrepresent my actual positions, Jeremy. That is what makes you all lose out in the arena of public discourse – you sound desperate, immoral and irrational.

        ~Dan

      • Gus Ravenwheel

        On the other hand, you DO speak truthfully at least sometimes in your post. For instance, when you said…

        No point

        Well stated, factual and concise.

        ~Dan

    • Ray Bannister

      Jeremy, don’t encourage him

      • Gus Ravenwheel

        Given the topic of the post, Ray, I asked a reasonable question. I was met with witless sarcasm and ridiculous half truths (and whole lies) by Jeremy, and you are worried about Jeremy “encouraging” me?

        This is why you all are marginalizing yourselves into irrelevancy.

        Reasonable questions should be met with respectful answers.
        Lies and twisting of truth should not be accepted with a mere shrug and no repentance.
        Not addressing reasonable questions indicates that you have nothing substantive with which to defend your positions.

        Thanks, just the same.

      • Jeremy Baines

        Yes, Ray, I know. Never again, ever, heterosexual Scout’s honor. But I did post the first comment. I should’ve just ignored what followed, what a waste of time.

  • Gabe

    They could always ask Katherine Jefferts Schori for a worship building. She loves to sell off her empty Episcopal churches to Islamic groups rather than to Anglican churches that would pay more.

    • http://gravatar.com/faithiej Faith McDonnell

      So true, Gabe! I wrote about the sale of the Episcopal Church building in Binghamton, NY a few years ago. And that goes to my point, about which Dan was unclear. Of course we believe in religious freedom for people of all religions and the right of people to have/buy a place to worship. But if churches were vibrant, and on fire with the Gospel, they would not be empty and having to be sold, at all (unless they were part of ECUSA). And there is also the fact that Islam is not just a religious faith (as I pointed out). It is a whole political, social, economic, cultural system that thrives on extending to more and more territory. This often impinges on the sovereignty of the host country (ya think?).

      • Greg P

        Yes, it does, Faith, and you’re so right about these churches – if they were home to vital fellowships of Christians, they wouldn’t be available for purchase. There’s obviously a spiritual vacuum in Europe, and the Muslims are taking advantage of it. The Europeans’ secular hedonism is no match for an aggressive religion that encompasses all of life.

      • Gus Ravenwheel

        I am very glad to hear you affirm religious liberty and the right of religious people to buy buildings (and presumably even build domes and minarets). So, the point was NOT a knock on Islam, just a sigh of sadness that Christian churches aren’t more vibrant? And the suggestion that Islam is a faith (and more) “thrives” on extending to more territory (and buying old church buildings along the way), that to you is okay, you just wish Christian churches were doing it, too? But you fully support Muslim’s buying old church buildings nonetheless?

        Okay, thanks for the clarification and I’m glad to hear it.

        ~Dan

      • Gabe

        Yeah Greg, when Europeans start looking for something more after a post-modern humanistic outlook collapses, who is there to offer answers? Not the compromised European mainline-esque churches…..

        My prayer is that the Biblical church here can be ready to provide answers when our non-believers go looking for the big answers.

  • http://eveztravels.wordpress.com Evez

    What a shame. Let’s wait another 20 years and whole Germany will be muslim. :(

    • Gus Ravenwheel

      I think you give too much creedence to the message of Islam. There are many, many wonderful Muslims out there, to be sure – the vast majority, I’d be willing to wager – are decent, loving, responsible people. Indeed, in its defense, Islam rests upon seven pillars, most of which are compelling (Devotion to God, ritual purity, prayer, charity, fasting…).

      However, Islam has a huge PR problem. As long as the vocal minority in Islam continues to advocate oppression of women, gay folk and people of different faiths… as long as there is this perception that Islam is not compatible with human rights and religious liberty, you will find that most people will eventually oppose it, at least in the free world.

      Of course, there is something in the human nature that is attracted to the more fundamentalist, black/white “here are the answers, no thinking required” sorts of faith traditions (whether Christian or Muslim or other). In the long run, though, I believe that we have come too far to want to abandon the notion of religious liberty at this point.

      One man’s opinion.

      ~Dan

      • http://www.theird.org Faith McDonnell

        Time to push off and on to the next thing. Nine polio workers and three North Korean doctors slaughtered by Boko Haram jihadists. Suggest you do the same.

      • J P Logan

        Guss, I do so agree with you about the “fundamentalist, black/white” way of thought. that really betrays a narrow mind. You find it sometimes on this site. For example, in regard to “gay marriage,” you’ll find someone who stakes out his position and says that there is ONE right approach to that issue, HIS approach, and the ONLY Christian position on “gay marriage” is to support it wholeheartedly, as the Bible makes it clear that this is the position Jesus himself would take – no nuance, no gray areas, none of this let’s-agree-to-disagree stuff, just rock-solid conviction his stance on the issue is the right one. We keep getting that in one post after another. He seems very sure of himself. What’s your take on that kind of fundamentalist, black/white approach to this crucial issue? :)

  • Taja

    Rise Germany and bring back your cultural identity. You are investing social transfers for the invasive culture which wont share the western ideology and hsbits. It is suicide.