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Hintergrund 44

Moscheen heute

How can - apart from the socio-political problem - a contemporary formal language be found for Islamic religious architecture if a debate on quality is not even being held? In the context of the symposium "Mosques today. Construction task and socio-political responsibility" on September 4, 2009, a top-class panel of experts discussed various aspects of mosque construction in Germany, Holland, the USA, the Balkan countries and Austria at the invitation of Az W and with the support of the US Embassy in Vienna. The presentations by Azra Akšamija, Sabine Kroissenbrunner, Hüsnü Yegenoglu and Christian Welzbacher form the focus of this issue.



In the Lower Austrian health resort Bad Vöslau a mosque was opened these days, only the third such building in Austria. The polemics in the run-up to the opening (as was already the case with the so-called minaret controversy in Telfs) lacked objective discussion of an increasingly important construction task. While numerous mosques are currently being built or planned in Germany, Austria is lagging behind the overall European development. In the heated debates, which quickly degenerate into xenophobia, it is usually overlooked that Muslims also prefer worthy assembly rooms for their prayers instead of backyards or abandoned industrial halls. A basic problem is that quickly formed groups of concerned neighbors can unfortunately be all too easily appropriated by the right, as the “Austrian Citizens’ Initiative Dammstrasse against the construction of mosques in residential areas” shows. An already existing mosque in Vienna-Brigittenau is to be enlarged. The allegedly non-partisan group of neighbors installs a homepage with the title “Mosque goodbye” and has the Viennese FPÖ member of parliament H. C. Strache march in the front line of its protest marches. The FPÖ was also heavily involved in Vöslau. You can read here which path the committed mayor chose.