"There are parking spots. Children can come. There are better facilities for the youths," says Mr. Kuzpinar. "We want to build something nice so that people can come and see what we're doing."
With a place of its own, Milli Gorus – an Islamic Turkish rights group watched by the German government – is looking for something it never had: public recognition in a country its members consider theirs.
But it also ignited vehement protest. "This was to be sold as a supermarket, not as a mosque," says Wolfgang Kopp, who owns an apartment across the street. Along with other neighbors, he succeeded in, at least temporarily, stopping the parcel's rezoning for religious purposes. "Sooner or later there will be problems," he says.
Under the German Constitution, all religious groups can have prayer facilities. While Muslims have had prayer rooms, says Klaus Endter, an ecumenical specialist for the Protestant Church in Hessen, "the question is ... whether a courtyard is the right place to exercise a religion."
Guest workers worship more openly
Since coming to Germany, Muslim migrant workers like Mr. Kuzpinar have held prayer meetings in dark nooks that reflected the precarious situation of a people often torn between their adopted and their home countries.
But the "guest workers" who helped drive the economic boom of postwar Germany stayed. They set up organizations to run prayer, youth, and senior activities. They moved up the economic ladder, increasing their financial contributions to the groups, and receiving funds from pan-European Muslim organizations supporting the Muslim diaspora.
And now, the third generation is building domed mosques with minarets. Only a handful existed 10 years ago, but today 159 mosques dot Germany today, with 184 under construction, according to the Central Institute for Islamic Archives in Söst.
Aachen, for instance – a German city of 257,000 on the Belgian border with a 9 percent Muslim population – just gave the green light to a domed mosque with a minaret. That's a sign, says Mayor Jürgen Linden, "that Muslims have become a part and parcel of society."