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Krämer, Gudrun

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Süddeutsche Zeitung - Germany | 25/03/2008

Gudrun Krämer on the functions of a mosque

Islam expert Gudrun Krämer intervenes in the German debate about the building of mosques and tries to explain why the fears about these buildings are unfounded. "For lack of a better term, mosques are often referred to as houses of God and therefore as sacred buildings. This is not entirely wrong because prayer, as already mentioned, requires ritual purity and the right mind-set as well as appropriate behaviour. ... However, the notion that God is omnipresent in mosques is alien to Muslims: they are 'houses of God' only in the sense that they are a place for his worship. Primarily for his worship, that is. Because the mosque continues to serve a number of other purposes that are not holy. ... Generally, they are open all day and night to anyone who wants to spend time there, meditate, read, talk, eat or even just sleep. ... For the residents of inhospitable, cramped, stuffy, ugly and noisy conurbations, they are often the only place where one can retreat and even relax."

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