Monday, June 11, 2012

Protestants in Germany hand over their church to Islamic use

Mönchengladbach: Muslime übernehmen Kirche in Gladbach

A Christian church has been converted into a Muslim assembly hall. In Moenchengladbach-Rheydt the Alevi community gathers in the former Holy Cross Church of the Evangelical Methodist Church. Three years ago, the Methodists celebrated their last church service in the church and sold it in 2010 to the Alevis. The renovation of the building took one and a half years.

This was an unprecedented event in Germany, writes the newspaper "Welt am Sonntag". So far, an interdenominational consensus had prevailed, not to allow the conversion of abandoned churches to Islamic worship.

The Evangelical Church in Rhineland rejects this as before. The Methodists are an independent Protestant Free Church, which claims in Germany some 55 000 members. Worldwide there are approximately 70 million Methodists, mostly in the US. A spokesman for the Rhenish Church said: "We do not question a transfer to non-Christian religious groups. Exceptions are Jewish communities."

Unlike Sunni or Shiite Muslims, Alevis do not pray in mosques, but in so-called Cem houses. You do not fast during Ramadan, but at another time. The Koran plays in comparison only a minor role. Alevis do not feel bound by the Islamic Sharia legal system.

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