Refugees and Turks during Friday prayers at a Turkish mosque in Cologne. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay
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Syrians in Germany say many of the country's Arab mosques are more conservative than those at home.Over two months, a dozen Syrians in six places of worship in three cities told Reuters they were uncomfortable with very conservative messages in Arabic-speaking mosques. In Germany, other different faiths are traditionally supported by the state. But most of the country's 4 million Muslims originally came from Turkey and attend Turkish-speaking mosques which are partly funded by Ankara.Around a third came from Syria. Many of them do not want to go to Turkish mosques because they do not understand the sermons. Yet in these mosques, other problems arise. A 2008 survey of Muslims and Christians in Europe by the state-funded WZB Berlin Social Science Center found fundamentalist attitudes were less prevalent among German Muslims than elsewhere in Europe, but still quite widespread: For example, nearly half the Muslims it surveyed in Germany felt religious law to be more important than secular law.Muslims cannot benefit from this, because the four main organizations that represent Muslims in Germany can't agree to merge into one religious body, a requirement to receive taxes.Nonetheless, Khorchide and other Islam experts are hopeful that the influx of Muslim asylum-seekers with an open approach to religion is an opportunity to promote a more "moderate" Islam in the Arabic-speaking mosques.
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