Proposal Over Muslim Churches Triggers Holy Fury

Radio Netherlands | Vanessa Mock | Jun. 4, 2008

There has been an outcry in Belgium over a proposal to convert little-used churches into mosques. A senior official in Antwerp argues too many of the city’s churches stand empty most of the time and he has put forward suggestions to convert them into mosques to benefit the city’s large Muslim population.

Philip Heylen, who is deputy-mayor, says he wants to “break the taboo” over the future of the city’s churches, many of which have dwindling and ageing congregations. He shrugs:

“It’s a looming issue yet it seems impossible to have a debate about this, churches were built as places of worship and they should not be used as shopping malls. We’ve approached various religious groups and had a positive response from members of the Muslim community, which is open to the idea of converting them.”

The proposal would allow Antwerp’s Muslims to have a proper place of worship, instead of gathering in garages or private houses, as is often the case now, Mr Heylen says that it would also provide an alternative to building new mosques, which remains a sensitive issue.

Christian havens
But Mr Heylen’s comments have sparked opposition from both Christians and Muslims. Antwerp’s bishopric is smarting from not having been consulted and argues that the matter is in its own hands.

Meanwhile, many of the city’s priests insist that their churches fulfil an important function, even if they attract few worshippers. “This is not acceptable,” says Father Jan, who runs the Sint-Willibrordus church, an imposing neo-Gothic building in an immigrant neighbourhood.

He admits that the aisles are “far emptier than fifty years ago” but he rejects claims that church-goers are dying out.

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Comments

  1. The proper place for Muslims to worship is in Mosques, in Muslim countries. It seems that Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Sudan, or Nigeria is where they should be worshiping and residing. Europe is not the place for Muslims. Bringing people from third world cultures to live in Europe is not a kind and charitable thing to do. These people from third world countries will only turn Europe into a continent of third world countries. There will be no advanced civilization left. Only a deceptive, evil tyrant would profess that it is a Christian, charitable thing to do to turn a church into a Mosque. Any reasonable person should be able to figure out that such an act will only lead to the destruction of a Christian nation.
    I believe that the best way for someone to conquer their enemy is to sneak inside the enemies defenses and then sabotage them. This is much the idea of the Trojan Horse episode in antiquity. Many of the priests in the Eastern Orthodox Church warn that Satan has been defeated on the outside with Christ’s death and resurrection. Now Satan’s only way to battle God is from within the Church. Although I’m Orthodox, I pay attention to the readings from the scripture that are done in Catholic churches. The big push there lately is to promote the idea that we should “welcome the stranger”. They promote the action of sharing our resources with others who are less fortunate. The priests always seem to explain that the meaning of this is for us to welcome illegal aliens from third world countries and just give them all of the social services they desire. This is a way for Satan to twist God’s word into encouragement to perform a self destructive act. Of course those who are in need should be helped. Christians from western cultures help others. However, I don’t see those rich Sheiks in the Middle East, who are sitting on top of oil deposits, helping others. I don’t see those very rich Mexican industrialists helping their poor citizens. America and European nations are expected to take in the undesirables from other nations and then have those undesirables destroy those very nations that help them. This is like a weed getting itself established in a flower bed and then eventually multiplying until the flowers are strangled out.

  2. Margaret says:

    Let’s talk about equity.

    By Islamic Law (Sharia) a Christian Church (we’re talking mainly Orthodox Christian) in an Islamic country may not be built (Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Morocco are examples). If it is damaged, like by arson, it may not be repaired (Egypt is an example). If Orthodox Christians dare to repair a damaged Church, it will be destroyed (Serbia is an example). If an Islamic country decides to take over a Church and turn it into a mosque (like the Agia Sophia in Istanbul/Constantinople) it may never become a Christian Church ever again.

    When the good old boys in Islamic countries start offering to let Christians build Churches in their countries, repair monasteries, rebuild destroyed Churches, and allow mosques to be used by Christians for services, then we should offer Churches to them in Europe, but until then, Europeans are offering their own necks to be “smite with the sword” by our Muslim brethren — or slitting their own throats.

  3. I totally agree with Anton and Margaret. I am also Eastern Orthodox and believe that if we do not start to take a stand against this evil that is like a tsunami taking over the world country by country. Europe better wake up if it isn’t all ready too late. America has seen a rapid decline and I can’t help thinking back to Kruschev at the United Nations saying “we wil destroy you from within.” Well, we are self-destructing from all corners. Our politicians, the apathy of the people thinking that it can’t happen here. WAKE UP PEOPLE!!! IT’s happening now and before you know it we will be bowing toward Mecca..