The Integrative Mosque: On the Debate of the Mosques’ Traditional Islamic Architecture in Germany

By Ossama Hegazy.

Published by The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society

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During the last few decades, a new Muslim community has started to emerge and grow in the German society. The estimated number of Muslims living in Germany in 1961 was about 15,000. Yet, since 2009 it has exceeded 4 million. This escalation has created some conflicts such as the mosque. On the one hand, it represents a fundamental requirement for Muslim immigrants. However, on the other hand, it is a strange Islamic symbol in the German society. Therefore, this contradiction necessitates an exploration that maintains the identity of the German society, but also smoothly accommodates Muslims’ needed mosque.

The form and function of mosques in Germany went through different development phases, which demonstrate the manner by which the host society, in cooperation with the Muslim immigrants, defined and remodeled the mosque conception and social message. Moreover, these approaches confirmed a sort of development in the European–Islamic architecture which also emphasizes the various emerging changes in the Muslim immigrants’ integrating ambitions. However, these endeavors are still not adequately equipped to achieve a reliable prototype supporting the Muslim immigrants’ integration process. Additionally, mosques’ traditional architecture is heavily subjected to a considerable criticism.

Consequently, the paper’s main objective is to eradicate the claims directed to the traditional Islamic architecture as a main barrier for accommodating the mosque in Germany. Secondly, it proposes the notion of the integrative mosque, which is based on enlarging the mosques’ contribution and interaction within the hosting non-Muslim society. For that purpose, the historical unproblematic validity of customarily appearing mosques in Germany will be proved. Then, assessing the unsuccessfulness of Germany’s non-traditional looking mosques will be elaborated. Finally, a non-German example proving the feasibility of an integrative traditional mosque will be addressed, which should underscore the key barrier of blocking mosques’ initiation in Germany.

Last but not least, the “communitarian theory” and “staccato narrative” are addressed as suggestions for further research, due to their relevance. At the end, the integrative mosque should promote the participation and integration of Muslim immigrants in the host society positively. Moreover, it should affect the harmony and unification of the European society, in order to optimistically replace isolation and conflict with integration and peace.

Keywords: Islam, Mosques and Muslims in Germany Integration, Socio-Semiotics, Cognitive Sociology, Communitarian Theory, Staccato Narratives

The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp.47-58. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 381.500KB).

Ossama Hegazy

Doctoral Candidate, Department of Architecture, Institute Urban Sociology, Bauhaus University Weimar, Weimar, Thuringia, Germany

Ossama Hegazy graduated in 2003 with a Bachelor of architecture from The Faculty of Fine Arts Alexandria, followed by a Diploma in environmental architecture in 2006. Ossama Hegazy completed the master program, IMIAD, International Master of Interior Architectural Design at the University of Applied Science Stuttgart in 2009. Since October 2010, Ossama Hegazy has been a PhD student at the Bauhaus University Weimar. While studying, Hegazy completed one semester abroad at ECA, Edinburgh College of Arts, participating in international workshops in Finland and France, and contributing to an international colloquium and conference in Dresden and St. Petersburg. Hegazy’s interests are, on the one hand, focusing on paving communication channels between the east and west, and on the other hand, aiming to boost the Muslims’ integration process in Germany. The latter is actually the motive for addressing the suggested topic at the conference.