The mosques of Cologne, the fourth-largest city in Germany, have obtained permission to broadcast the call to prayer every Friday over minaret loudspeakers. To some residents of Cologne, the Muslim call to prayer represents the same cry of conquest that the Christians of the Middle East and Africa hear five times every day and night at the doors of their churches and homes. Now it is Germany's turn. Pictured: The Cologne Central Mosque. (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)
"Western hegemony is over," said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently. "It lasted centuries, but it is over".
At the same time, the mosques of Cologne, the fourth-largest city in Germany, have obtained permission to broadcast the call to prayer every Friday over minaret loudspeakers.
"Many residents of Cologne are Muslims," said Mayor Henriette Reker, "and in my opinion it is a sign of respect to allow the call of the muezzin."
To others, the Muslim call to prayer represents the same cry of conquest that the Christians of the Middle East and Africa hear five times every day and night at the doors of their churches and homes. Now it is Germany's turn.
Sixteen years ago, Pope Benedict XVI made his first papal visit to Cologne. He invited the young people of Europe to return to their roots on a pilgrimage to the tomb of the Magi. A year later, in Regensburg, he warned against the intrinsic violence of Islam. Cologne is now where Germany just signed its surrender to political Islam.
Journalist Daniel Kremer, writing in Bild, recalled that many of Cologne's mosques are funded by the Turkish government and run by Erdogan, "a man who opposes the liberal values of our democracy", adding:
"It's wrong to equate church bells with the call to prayer. The bells are a signal without words that also helps tell the time. But the muezzin calls out 'Allah is great!' and 'I testify that there is no God but Allah.' That is a big difference."
Church bells do not proclaim that the Christian god is the only god and that Jesus is his son.
Integration expert Ahmad Mansour also contested the Mayor Recker's position. "It's not about 'religious freedom' or 'diversity', as mayor Reker argues," Mansour said. "The mosque wants visibility. The muezzin is a show of power".
A court in the city of Münster last year ruled that a local mosque was authorized to carry out the Friday call to prayer in public over loudspeakers. That mosque is managed by the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DITIB). As the largest umbrella organization of mosques in Germany, DITIB provides imams and financing, manages about 900 mosques in Germany and has approximately 800,000 members.
Shortly after the ruling, the state government of Hesse ruled that the muezzin's calls to prayer through minaret loudspeakers are allowed even without permission.
Eight of Germany's 100 most populous cities, Der Spiegel noted, have previously given a green light for broadcasting Islamic calls to prayer in public. In Düren, the Turkish Fatih mosque calls the faithful to prayer three times a day. Ethnology professor Susanne Schröter of Goethe University in Frankfurt, argues that Muslims view calls to prayer as the triumph of a "strong Islam" over a "weak Christianity" -- reportedly accompanied by a wish to have the Islamic crescent replace the stars of the European Union.
"Will the call of the muezzin be heard all over Germany?" asked Germany's most popular newspaper, Bild. The call of the muezzin can already be heard in Munich. Since April 2020, five mosques there have been broadcasting the call to prayer with loudspeakers. "The call of the muezzin does not require approval," said the authorities of Hanover, where there are 27 mosques . "It is like the sound of church bells, of the free religious practice that is constitutionally protected".
A similar answer came from Dresden: "We see ourselves as a diverse and cosmopolitan urban society".
From Frankfurt, home to a mosque that accommodates up to 6,000 of worshippers, the mayor declared: "The law does not provide for an approval procedure for the muezzin's prayer, just as for church bells".
Cities such as Dortmund, Hamm, Siegen, Düren and Oldenburg have also allowed mosques to broadcast the Islamic call to prayer over loudspeakers. In Nuremberg, which hosts a dozen mosques, allowing the call of the muezzin is apparently "not a problem".
The former President of the Constitutional Court of North Rhine-Westphalia, Michael Bertrams, speaks of a "political triumph" for Turkey's president, while Hamed Abdel-Samad, a sociologist who lives under armed guard due to Islamist death threats, is even clearer:
"The call to prayer begins with 'Allahu Akbar', which is also the rallying cry of Muslims. It means that Allah is greater. Greater than the enemy, greater than the people, greater than life, greater than Germany, greater than everything. And since he is greater than everything, in the end only his law applies, the sharia".
Bundestag member Malte Kaufmann wrote:
"From now on every Friday in Cologne, 'There is no other god but Allah!' But Islamization is not supposed to happen in Germany at all ... We have been warning against it for years! The appeal to the muezzin is a claim to power. Step by step, the Christian West is betrayed".
"The history of the Cologne Central Mosque documents the naivety of the German authorities in dealing with Islamic organizations", reported Switzerland's Neue Zürcher Zeitung, the oldest German-language newspaper in Europe.
"Before construction began, the Turkish Association promised the then-mayor of Cologne, Fritz Schramma, that the sermons would be held in German and that the mosque would become a meeting place for members of different religions. The former mayor, one of the mosque's biggest sponsors, was not invited to the inauguration. They wanted to build a house for intercultural encounters in which Islam was preached in German. In the spirit of Erdogan, an Islamist nationalist center was created. After this story, anyone who thinks that the muezzin will stop at five minutes is being lulled into the world of fairy tales".
What seems to exist is an extremely wide-eyed, childlike atmosphere of capitulation. "Whoever says yes to bell towers must also say yes to minarets," said Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, archbishop of Cologne. It looks as if German churches are committing suicide. The archdiocese of Cologne -- the largest in Germany and one of the richest in the world -- is planning to reduce its parishes from 500 to 50 by 2030. In Cologne, Erdogan came to inaugurate the largest mosque, welcomed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the daughter of a Prussian pastor. This gesture of goodwill did not prevent the Turkish president, in 2020, from turning the great Byzantine basilica of Hagia Sophia into a mosque. The Catholic Church of St. Theodore in Cologne even contributed to the Islamization of the city by financing the mosque, in the name of some imaginary inter-religious dialogue.
It was a Jewish writer who escaped the Holocaust, Ralph Giordano, who criticized the Cologne decision, "political Islam" and the "gigantomania of the great mosque", which, from his point of view, is "a kind of declaration of war". In an article for the FAZ, Giordano wrote:
"I will continue to take a critical stance against those imams who use the liberal structure and tolerance of the constitution to impose totalitarian views of the state and who undermine the rules of the rule of law, using indoctrination, anti-Western, to teach Sharia law...
"I want to be able to say that I do not want to see burqas or chadors on the German streets, any more than I want to hear the calls of the muezzins from the minarets. I will also not adapt my vision of freedom of expression to a demon who interprets it as follows: 'Everyone has the right to freely express their opinion in a way that is not contrary to Sharia law'. No and three times no!".
Once a dam breaks, there is only a competition to see who gives way faster. Even the head of the German Chancellery who apparently would like to become the leader of Angela Merkel's CDU party, Helge Braun, spoke in favor of allowing mosques to broadcast the call to prayer.
In Aachen, the city of the emperor Charlemagne and his marvelous cathedral, and its surroundings, the muezzin's call is not only at home. The city is also changing the name of its squares to make room for Islam. "Moscheeplatz" ("Mosque Square") is the new name of a public plaza in Aachen. The change was evidently desired by Mayor Marcel Philipp, in agreement with the Turkish DITIB: "I am very happy as mayor to have a Mosque Square", the mayor said.
On November 11, the muezzin arrived in Raunheim, a town on the outskirts of Frankfurt, the first in Hesse officially to allow prayer through loudspeakers every Friday and, during Ramadan, every day before sunset prayer.
"The principle of equality also applies to religion in a democratic society", explained Mayor Thomas Jühe. Then there is the question of demographics: 70% of Raunheim's population are migrants. "Here we have more Muslims than Christians", Jühe said.
Despite this, they say that the "Great Replacement" and the Islamization of Europe are just conspiracy theories. Have we really understood what the Europe of tomorrow will be like?
In an interview with Boulevard Voltaire, Thilo Sarrazin, the former head of Germany's central bank and author of two bestsellers on multiculturalism and Islam that shook up the debate in Germany, says the Cologne decision is perfectly in line with Germany's demographic future:
"The German population, if the trend continues, will die out in the next 100 years. In the last chapter of Germany is Disappearing, I sketched the direction that the situation will take over the next years... The decision in Cologne does not surprise me at all. It corresponds to my image of how things will evolve in this area. In France, I find that Michel Houellebecq sends the same message in his book Soumission".
Even the two major German establishment newspapers criticized the growing trend.
The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung took sides against Cologne's decision to authorize the muezzin's prayer from 50 mosques in the city. Ronya Othmann wrote:
"In contrast to the adhan, the Islamic call to prayer, the ringing of bells is only a sound, not a message. 'Tolerance' is a word like 'diversity' and 'respect', an old gum chewed until it no longer has taste. If Erdogan has carpeted Alevis and Yazidi villages with mosques and made them resonate with Islamic belief five times a day, it is an act of Islamist submission and we should not allow [it in] Cologne".
The Süddeutsche Zeitung in Munich was also harsh:
"The call to prayer is not new in Germany. It has been playing in dozens of cities for a long time. The Christian West, if it still exists, will therefore not immediately fall. But Recep Tayyip Erdoğan once quoted a poem: 'Minarets are bayonets, domes are helmets, ... believers are soldiers'. One thing is undeniable: Islamism has been on the rise for decades. The rise to power of the Taliban in Afghanistan is hailed by Islamists as a triumph blessed with the power of faith. Then the transformation of Hagia Sophia into a mosque.... This may have little to do with the ideas and thinking of most Muslims in Germany. But for an Islamist, the adhan is the daily confirmation of the political mandate".
We now have loud music echoing from a tent above Leipzig's Willy-Brandt-Platz, huge green banners with Arabic lettering, and young people distributing leaflets to passers-by. Bild tells us that Muhammad's birthday is being celebrated in a major German city. If France is the country of Islamist aggression, Germany is the country of surrender. The Pew Research Center estimates that by 2050, Germany's Muslim population will be 17.5 million or 20% of the population. Today it is only 8%. Will the "city of the Three Magi" be renamed the "city of the Muezzins"?
Giulio Meotti, Cultural Editor for Il Foglio, is an Italian journalist and author.