Source: Deutsche Welle
Berlin's first Ahmadi mosque opened its doors in the former eastern side of the German capital last month. The building and the religious group are putting religious tolerance to the test.
A 13-meter-high (43-foot) minaret competes for attention alongside pillars advertising the fast food outlets at a busy intersection in Pankow, a north-eastern suburb of Berlin.
Inside the mosque, the call to Friday prayer echoes as men fall to their knees. Upstairs, women turn to the loudspeakers relaying the imam's chant. It is not audible from the streets, where the mosque draws suspicious disapproval.
The Khadija Mosque, which opened on Oct. 16, has met with strong opposition ever since its inception in 2006. The first purpose-built mosque to open in former East Germany, it provides a new center for Berlin's Ahmadi community.
Ahmadiyya Islam is a reform movement founded in India in the 19th century. The Ahmadi are not recognized by mainstream Muslims, and many have left Pakistan where they face religious persecution.
Symbol of tolerance?
At the opening ceremony, Berlin's mayor, Klaus Wowereit, described the mosque as an icon of religious and cultural tolerance. At the same time, 500 police officers were present to keep demonstrators at bay.