The intrepid Austrian freedom fighter E.S.W. reports on our tour of three mosques in Berlin last Sunday:
Last Sunday I entered the surreal world of cultural enrichment in Berlin. Being from Vienna, where the Socialist government has given the multiculturalists a free hand for the past century, I thought I was already used to the sight of hijabed women of all backgrounds, with countless children in tow. Well, I was in for an unpleasant surprise.
Robert Spencer and I safaried through heavily enriched areas of Berlin, with Berlin-BPE member Uwe Morowski kind enough to act as our guide. It was the day after Germany’s Reunification Day, which has been turned into an Open House day for Muslims, a day on which they hope to open their hearts and …., well, mosques to more or less unsuspecting visitors interested in joining the Religion of Peace. It must have been a hugely successful day, requiring rest for everybody, because Robert and I visited three very different mosques, two of which were deserted.
The first mosque was owned by DITIB (http://www.ditib.de/, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turkish-Islamic_Union_for_Religious_Affairs), a religious organization which is part of the Turkish embassy in Germany and as such enjoys diplomatic immunity. DITIB is in charge of all imams preaching in Germany, with the Turkish ministry of religious affairs, the Diyanet, in charge of the content of all Friday sermons.
We entered the mosque itself, which was empty except a mumbling old man crouching on the floor, all but ignoring three infidels, one without the usually prerequisite head covering. We walked about, pretending admiration, and were out soon. Nothing really to see. The courtyard, however, was a lot more information-friendly. The wall sported some interesting posters. One showed a girl covering her face with her hands and the text: “Domestic violence and what to do about it”. DITIB will help you in case of: family conflicts and problems; problems with education, school and puberty; (drug) addiction; crisis situations; domestic violence; sexual abuse; marriage, separation and divorce; debt; family reunification; questions regarding residence permits; questions regarding public institutions; and last, but not least: DISCRIMINATION!
One photograph shows us in front of an office with a sign saying: “Consul/AttachÃ© for consular and religious affairs”.
We happened upon the next mosque by chance as we peered through a dark window and saw a young boy cowering on the floor. A young man waved us to the entrance and politely asked us to enter. Since I pretended not to speak any German, and Uwe was not part of the mosque, a man who appeared to be Syrian was quickly summoned, shaking Robert’s and Uwe’s hand, but ignoring me completely. Having lived in Muslim-Arab countries for a number of years, I did not expect anything else. However, the feeling is one of utter humiliation every time. The man proudly showed us the mosque which was still under construction, and with its elaborate arabesques and ornate dome, clearly showed signs that enormous expenditures had been made. There were children running around everywhere as well as young girls, some no older than nine or ten years, in full hijab mode.
Robert and Uwe were then invited to a glass of tea, while I was “allowed” to venture to the basement. As I walked down the stairs I saw only women with headscarves milling around. I was the only one sporting blond hair. It was interesting to note, though, that no one felt bothered by my presence. I unpacked my camera and took some photographs, fully aware that I might be asked to remove the camera and perhaps even myself. But no one cared or even looked at me.
The basement room was filled with racks of clothes; pants, dresses, shirts as well as hijabs were sold at very cheap prices (about a euro a piece!). In the back of the room I witnessed four veiled girls performing their prayers oblivious to the noise level.
At one table I was approached by a young lady who asked if she could help me. I shrugged, pretending not to understand her. She unpacked her rudimentary German skills and proceeded to tell me she was a kindergarten teacher, originally from Morocco, married to a Turk. Their two-year-old daughter does not speak any other language besides German. She was very friendly, pretty, and not out to dawa-ize me. I asked her where all the clothes came from. She tried to explain that it was shopkeepers who donated the clothes. My question – “Why so cheap?” – was met with a simple answer: “Because they [the shopowners] are Muslim.” She declined to have her photo taken with me – “My brother doesn’t approve” – and I took my leave. After a while I found all the hijabs stifling and returned back to the men, Uwe and Robert.
The last mosque we entered was literally a dump. Garbage strewn all over the courtyard. No one to be seen. Only some Turkish TV blasting from somewhere. There was a faint smell of dead or decayed meat. Back outside we took a closer look at the signs: The mosque had a butchery on its premises. That explained it.
Soon it was time for me to head back south to Vienna. I left Uwe and Robert, who headed off to have a beer or two, while I took the underground to the airport. The underground ride was an enriching experience in itself: A group of young Turkish boys, all dressed in expensive shirts and jeans, entered the train and proceeded to annoy riders by talking very loudly, almost shouting at each other, speaking a mixture of poor German and Turkish. One of the boys started hitting the handles and was reprimanded by a lady sitting across from me. “Why are you doing that? Can you stop right now.” He didn’t listen and continued banging for no apparent reason. The entire scene was a simple bullying match. He was bored and wanted to annoy people. I thought to myself, “These boys will one day enter the workforce? God help us.” Before anyone accuses me of racism, I will add that yes, indigenous German and Austrian boys who belong to a group can get on older people’s nerves. What shocked me was the air of superiority and arrogance these German-Turkish boys exhibited, an arrogance they have no reason to have. They were too young to be arrogant.
There was a collective sigh of relief when they got off the train.
And I was relieved to reach the airport and my final destination safe and sound.