Koln, 21 Sept. (IPS) Some 1.000 extremists who had planned a two day meeting in Koln to stop the project for building a masque in this city were finally defeated by a counter meeting by 40.000 people, most of them Turks and other Muslims, but also lawmakers from left an right, members of the Koln city council.
Works of the edifice, to become the biggest of the 150 mosques already existing in Germany, is to start on 2010, but an extremist right-wing movement, named “Pro Koln”, under the pretext of “saving Germany from Muslim invasion”, is staunchly opposing the project and to attract people’s support, prepared a meeting for Saturday and Sunday, 19 and 20 of September 2008.
Hoping on a big rally, the organizers invited several right wing personalities from other countries. While some, from Britain and Belgium responded, Mr. Jean Marie Le Pen, the ageing leader of the French troubled extremist National Front, politely refused.
Works of the edifice, to become the biggest of the 150 mosques already existing in Germany, is to start on 2010
As most public places and hotels had refused to help the Pro-Koln to organize its meeting, the anti Pro-Koln, assisted by representatives of other religions, political parties and civil movements, coming from all over Germany and other neighbouring countries, demonstrated peacefully, with banners, posters and slogans like “Nazis Raus (out); “Enough with Fascism”; “No to extremism and fundamentalism”; “synagogues, mosques, churches and temples, all must be free” etc..
Despite a huge police presence, some small fight broke between the two sides, without anybody being hurt or anyone being arrested.
In Tehran, the Iranian Foreign Affairs Ministry had summoned the French charge d’affairs, -- France is the present president of the European community -- calling on him to urge the German government to stop the Pro-Koln movement to go ahead with its planned meeting, describing the organizers as “anti Islam” and “encouraging hate against Muslims”, but Berlin rejected the request, citing freedom of the citizens to organizing meetings and express their opinions so far they are against laws.
Despite strong objections to the construction of the mosque by several members of the city council, the Mayor of Koln obtain the majority of the votes and at the same time, decided to ban the Pro Koln meeting, saying members of all faith have the right of enjoying their religious freedoms in an atmosphere of “freedom and tolerance”. ENDS MOSQUE 21908