Priest bridges religious divide by funding Germany's biggest mosque(Read article summary)
The cooperation between Rev. Franz Meurer and Iranian Navid Kermani illustrates how far Germany has gone in accepting its booming Muslim minority.
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.