The Turkish government spends hundreds of millions of dollars building mosques as part of a long-term effort to promote Islam around the world. Many Muslims hope that new mosques throughout Europe will advance and facilitate their wish to spread Islam to non-Islamic countries and persuade the Christian “infidels” to abandon their faith in favor of Islam.
On September 29, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan inaugurated Turkey’s latest European mosque, “The Cologne Central Mosque,” located in the Cologne, Germany.
The Turkish government-funded Anadolu Agency reported on September 25:
The Cologne Central Mosque, built by Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DITIB) after eight years of construction work, has a capacity of 1,200 people.
“It will be the most important and one of the largest mosques in Europe and Germany. It has a symbolic meaning for our Muslim brothers living here,” Nevzat Yasar Asikoglu, chairman of the DITIB, told reporters. “Our mosque also symbolizes peace, brotherhood as well as the culture of co-existence,” he said.
The 17,000 square-meter mosque complex also has a shopping center, an exhibition and a seminar hall, a 600-people capacity conference hall, a library, working offices and a car park on the ground floor.
Germany, a country of over 81 million people, has the second-largest Muslim population in Western Europe after France. Among the country’s nearly 4.7 million Muslims, three million are of Turkish origin.