Wednesday, 28 May 2014
From ndr

Journalists were welcomed in the name of Allah at the press conference in the Fazl-e-Omar mosque in Hamburg. Many wanted to report (on the event), and a TV team had arrived, too. The chairman of the Muslim Ahmadiyya religious community Jamaat (AMJ), Abdullah Uwe Wagishauser, was very pleased that the AJM became the first and only Muslim religious community in Hamburg to receive the status of an institution under public law. “Islam has now arrived in Hamburg”, the 64-years-old said smiling. He was born in Bodensee, and he converted when he was 26-years-old.


This new status gives now the AMJ the possibility to establish their own cemeteries for the dead of their religious community. “Now people send their dead to their home countries or bury them in Christian cemeteries”, says Wagishauser. “We want to create a distinctive atmosphere in our cemeteries”. In the future, kindergartens will also be established under Islamic trusteeship. Wagishauser hopes that non-Muslim parents will also bring their children to the planned kindergartens: “Yes, we say bismillah (in the name of Allah) before lunch, but we talk about both Christian and Muslim feast days”.

On the long term, the AMJ plans to set up two more mosques in Hamburg. One of them in Wandsbek, and another in Harburg. The community established the first mosque on German soil in Berlin in 1925. After WW2, the followers reorganized their German community in Hamburg. In 1957 they finished the building of the first post-war period in Stellingen – the Fazl-e-Omar mosque. There is another place of worship in Schnelsen. “That is why we’ve been attached to Hamburg for so long”, Wagishauser says. According to their own accounts, some 2.400 individuals belong to the community in Hamburg, the same number as in Hessen. The number of affiliates stands around 35.000 in the whole of Germany.

Wagishauser would wish that besides the TV programme „Word of Sunday“, a “Word of Friday” radio broadcast could also be introduced – a weekly Muslim prayer which could be of interest also for Christians. “This will not be so easy”, Wagishauser says. The Radio Broadcasting Network in Hessen rejected the proposal made by the AMJ.


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