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Friday, January 29, 2010

Muslim call to prayer from Catholic Church in Mainz

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Call of the Muezzin from Church in Mainz

Loud cries of the muezzin, alternating with bell-ringing has stunned passersby in Mainz. The nationally unique sound installation "ON AIR" in the pedestrian zone will call for peaceful coexistence of Muslims and Christians, said the Berlin concept artist Miriam Kilali (44) on Friday. The growing resentment against Muslims was "the cause for this musical activity in the public space." The taped muezzin calls and bells were to be broadcast from loudspeakers on the roof of the St Anthony Chapel in the town centre of Mainz on Friday and Saturday at 10.00, 14.00 and 17.00 clock for six minutes.

The reactions of passers-by cannot be more different.
"This is a horror," complains a blonde in her forties. "They take away everything - but we were once a Catholic country." The Turk Asil Yenertürk (52), however, is delighted: "I get goose bumps. I feel at home, when I hear this." The 70-year-old Johanna Demhardt is reminded of a trip to Singapore: "Where I have recently heard this sound. Here in Mainz, it's just not quite right." The Arab-Nile-Rhine-club as co-organiser has distributed explanatory leaflets so that the event is better understood. "The keys to a peaceful coexistence: respect, understanding, openness, tolerance, trust. You also have this key. It will open many doors," it says about the event. So what do people think? The artist Kilali will interview people to document their reactions.

She likes to explain her motives in detail: "The worsening of the emotionally heavy debate about the construction of mosques in Europe, the headscarf issue, the indiscriminate suspicion of terrorism on the one side - hostility and exclusion of Christians by Muslims in Arab countries on the other hand, are the occasion for " On Air ". The Arab-Nile-Rhine Chairman Samy El Hagrasy is enthusiastic: "Sadly, we don’t get so many people attending our info-evenings. If we publicise this art project, many more people become aware. "

Creating political art beyond museums and galleries, including the people is important for Kilali. A year ago in Berlin, they made the" most beautiful homeless shelter in the world "decorated with stucco and chandeliers. The old building was restored with the help of the residents. Two years earlier, Kilali had also converted an emergency shelter in Moscow.

And why now in the Rhineland-Palatinate state capital? Mainz is one of the oldest German dioceses, answers Kilali. And the Bishop, Cardinal Karl Lehmann, was "very open to dialogue between religions". Not least, the Berlin artist who was baptized Catholic, has lived for some ten years in Mainz.

Of course, they have registered their art project officially, with the church, as well as with the public authorities, Kilali further continues. "But that it included calls from the muezzin, was not previously known by anyone, including Cardinal Lehmann." Michael Baunack, the priest of the St Anthony Chapel, looks at his old-fashioned pocket watch with chain: no way will he give anything on Kilalis interplay of religious symbolism. "It is not normal. But perhaps we need to get used to the idea that we need a different dialogue. It's about shared responsibility and not propaganda against each other."
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