During the last hours of their agony in 1453, the Christian faithful took refuge within the hallowed walls of the Hagia Sophia. The Muslims killed the weak and the elderly and reduced the others to slavery. When the carnage came to an end, Sultan Mehmed II ordered an Islamic scholar to declare that there was no God but Allah and Mohammed was his Prophet. The ancient church was then converted into a mosque; hundreds of other churches in Constantinople and other places suffered the same fate.
Today in Europe we are witnessing the same process of conversion, but there is no bloodbath nor ceremony. It is a voluntary and sterile process of conversion. It is enough to sign a piece of paper in front of a notary and Europe turns to Islam.
Ten years ago the Nobel Prize Laureate for Literature, Günter Grass, proposed transforming empty churches into mosques. “It would be a great gesture”, proclaimed the “painful consciousness of Germany”.
Now a Lutheran church in Hamburg, the Kapernaumkirche, is about to be converted into an Islamic place of worship.
Because of Europe’s rampant de-Christianization, the church has no more faithful. The same has just happened to the the Church of Saint-Eloi in the French region of Vierzon, which will soon become a mosque. The diocese of Bourges put the church up for sale and a Muslim organization, l’Association des Marocains, made the most generous offer for the site.
The publication Spirit estimates that out of about 45,000 churches in Germany, 15,000 soon will no longer be needed. There are many church buildings in Germany that are now used for art classes, commercial activies and sports courses. In Wilhelmshaven, six out of nine Catholic churches are slated to be destroyed. The St. Maximin’s Abbey in Trier now serves as a school gym, while the Sacred Heart Church in Katlenburg houses a school for dance and Pilates.
And now, for the first time in Hamburg, a Church will serve the Islamic cult.
The new owner of the Hamburg church is the Nour Islamic Center, an umbrella organization for immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa. As planned, the building of Hamburg will begin worshipping the Koran from October 3, the day of German unity. Islamic organizations announced that they want to celebrate that day as the “tag der offenen mosques”, the day on which the mosques open to non-Muslims.
The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung posted an article titled “Tenant Allah”.
“Even if it is legal, the conversion of a church into a mosque will not improve coexistence”, declared Marcus Weinberg, the CDU leader in Hamburg.
Part of the Lutheran church is also against the conversion. “The conversion demonstrates how advanced is the secularization and the strengthening of Islam in our society”, said the pastor Ulrich Russ.
The case of Hamburg is not isolated in the wealthy Germany of Pope Benedict, where many Catholic dioceses are also on the verge of bankruptcy. In Essen, central Germany, a quarter of the churches will be closed.
The Muslim population in the country has increased from 50.000 people in the early ‘80s to the 4 million today.
The Archbishop of Berlin’s spokesman, Stefan Foerner, does not exclude the possibility that many Catholic churches will be sold to the Muslims in the future.
I phoned Ralph Giordano, the Jewish writer who survived the Holocaust. He sees the conversion of the church in Hamburg as “the Islamization of our country”, since “sharia is not constitutional, it is a thorn in the heart of democracy”.
As Soeren Kern explained in a report for the Gatestone Institute last November, Hamburg, the second-largest city in Germany, concluded a “historic treaty” with its Islamic communities that grants Muslim holidays, religion courses in schools and burial ritual rights. The most controversial part of the accord involves a commitment by the city government to promote the teaching of Islam in the Hamburg public school system.
The heart of Hamburg’s islamization is the Taiba mosque, where Mohammed Atta, the Saudi terrorist who led the 9/11 attacks, also prayed. From the central station to number 163 Steindamm is just a ten minute walk. The Muslim building lies between a pharmacy and a restaurant.
This is the face of Europe’s Islamization, often anonymous, but rampant. It is the misery of a lost continent. Robert Schuman’s “Europe of the Cathedrals” will be soon turned into the “Europe of the Mosques”.
The writer, an Italian journalist with Il Foglio, writes a twice-weekly column for Arutz Sheva. He is the author of the book “A New Shoah”, that researched the personal stories of Israel’s terror victims, published by Encounter. His writing has appeared in publications, such as the Wall Street Journal, Frontpage and Commentary. He is at work on a book about the Vatican and Israel.