Priest Bridges Religious Divide By Funding Germany's Biggest Mosque

February 2, 2010

Author: Isabelle de Pommereau

Source: The Christian Science Monitor

The recent Swiss ban on minarets reflects a climate gone sour between Muslims and non-Muslims in Europe. But here in Germany, two people have taken a stand to promote a dialogue that goes far beyond symbolics.

Not long ago, the Rev. Franz Meurer, a Roman Catholic priest in a rough Cologne neighborhood, led his parish to raise funds for the construction of a controversial mosque there, slated to be Germany’s biggest in a city most famous for its Catholic cathedral.

And when Navid Kermani, a prominent Iranian-born writer from Cologne, received a national award for his efforts to promote inter-religious dialogue in Germany recently, the Muslim writer reciprocated in kind. At the prize award ceremony, Mr. Kermani announced he would give his share of the €45,000 (US$67,738) award to Father Meurer.