Friday, October 26, 2007

Plans for Islamic cultural centre in Krakow

The usual suspects, on both sides, were at a meeting last Wednesday at Krakow’s Jagiellonian University to discuss the possibility of building an Islamic Centre, complete with prayer room, in one of Poland’s most Catholic of cities.

The Al-Fan Islamic Cultural Centre is the idea of a Krakow based artist of Albanian descent, Rahim Blak, based on plans drew up by architect Stanisław Deńko.

Someone I know who was at the meeting said proceedings started with an Imam chanting prayers as Blak theatrically drew off the cloth covering a scale model of the building, which the organizers want to build in the Zwierzyniec disctict in the heart of the old town.

Apparently, Rahim Blak said that around 500 Muslims, from 300 families, live in Krakow but the city didn’t want have a mosque. There are only around 200 Jews living in the city, on the other hand, he said, but they have a place to pray. Hmm.

The local media has been full of the usual scary type coverage, of a ‘Mosque to be built under the shadow of Wawel Castle...eeek!’ and raising fears that Krakow would turn into the new Afghanistan, and be inundated with al-Qaeda wannabe weird-beard extremists training for the Jihad and then running into the old Market Square to blow themselves up.

I am told that locals at the meeting were acting like the typical NIMBY, and saying that the cultural centre should not be built in the centre of town, but maybe on the other side of the river (and far away from built up areas, one presumes). Others couldn't understand why they were picking on Krakow to build the place in the first place.

I think it was a mistake by the originator of the idea to bring the number of Jews in Krakow into the argument – that is simply playing the multicultural numbers game – but there is already a beautiful Japanese cultural centre and museum housed on the banks of the River Wisla, so why not an Islamic Centre?

Could be good for tourism? Maybe?

And anyway, one of the symbols of Krakow is the Lajkonik - and you can’t get more Islamic than that.

Don’t you think the CIA’s new logo to publicize its ‘war against terror’ - Terrorist Buster - resembles a popular 1980s movie? Are they serious?

Even more?
Mosque to be built in Krakow,, Oct 24


Anonymous said...

Oy vey. What's gonna happen when there's a call to prayer broadcast over loudspeakers?

Will a bunch of Lajkonik's actually assemble and attack the tower at Kosciol Mariacki?

I'd hate to be the trumpeter.

Something like this happened in the former Polish immigrant enclave of Hamtramck in Detroit a few years back when a mosque started broadcasting the call to prayer on loudspeakers. Quite a stir.. I'm not sure how it all panned out:

Anonymous said...


Source for your revelations, please.

beatroot said...

Source, at the moment is primary, from someone who was at the meeting.

Here is a report from before the meeting,

though I now know that it is not a 'mosque' but a 'prayer centre' inside a cultural centre.

I also now think that the idea for the centre is just that - an artistic idea. I don't think they honestly think it will happen. It's more about cultural dialogue etc...

Anonymous said...

The Poles in Detroit got their way and the muezzin stopped the call to prayer. And before any one labels the Poles harsh xenophobes or Islamiphobes, they were using a taped call to prayer for each of the five prayers, not just Friday worship.
Not everyone is a morning person.

sonia said...

Mosque to be built under the shadow of Wawel Castle...eeek!

Maybe instead of Cracow, they should just built this center in Suwalki, in a region inhabited by Muslims since the 14th century.

That press reaction is sad. It suggests that Poland was more open-minded 600 years ago than today...

beatroot said...

Poland has this Tartar history. 20,000 muslims in Poland now, maybe 6,000 of them from Tartar background. Many of them in the northeast.

Poland was more open-minded 600 years ago than today...

Poland in its heyday invented European multicultural society. In the early census � 1800s � 40 percent or more were not �Roman catholic�.

It�s only since the first and second world wars � because of changes of borders and the Nazi, Soviet thing - that Poland became �mono ethnic�.

Anonymous said...

"In the early census � 1800s � 40 percent or more were not �Roman catholic�. "
Since 18th century Poland had little control over its borders. And
there were significant migrations when Poland was occupied and
partitioned, and later during early 19th century. For example, the
Jewish population in Warsaw increased from 9000 to over 27000 from 1807
to 1822 (source: Łukasz Gołębiowski "Opisanie historyczno-statystyczne miasta
Warszawy" 1827)

Anonymous said...

Just a short drive outside of Sokolka is Bohoniki a small village; it was primarily a Tatar settlement. Today still a few families in the village are Tatar and Muslim. The village has wooden mosque and a Muslim cemetery.

The fine people of Krakow should be aware that they are behind the times with respect to cultural diversity, it’s nice to see them try and catch up with a small village in Podlasie.

After they get the mosque an academic centre would be in order. Something like a Centre for the Study of Mindless Superstition, they can solicit donations for the construction of the JPII wing.

Anonymous said...

I'll be happy to contribute to the faith in the invisible hand of the "free" market wing.

John Gerard Sapodilla said...

Whom the bell tolls for ? the Moor is back !

Should the wonderful Ms.Sonia need a Christian shelter, I am ready to fight for her .
Many centuries ago most of South-East Europe was under the Arab rule. And and in that time their civilization was better, in many respects, then the Christian one. Do not deny the blood of your grand...grandfather, Abdul Al Krap.

Anonymous said...

I suggest that the supporters of this idea familiarize themselves with the terms Dar al-Islam, Dar al-Harb and Dar al-Dawa (Wikipedia is your friend) and their application here.

Anonymous said...

Terrorist Chemical attacks?
My wife had a phone call from a relative in Leszno an hour ago 2.30PM , whos said that TVN were reporting chemical leaks or attacks in Krakow and Poznan,but suddenly the reports were cut short. Did anyone see this reporting apart from my aunt?!


Anonymous said...

"And anyway, one of the symbols of Krakow is the Lajkonik - and you can’t get more Islamic than that."

Actually Lajkonik has little to do with Islam - it commemorates 13th century Mongol invasions. 13th century Mongols were pagan shamanists, with some buddhist or even nestorian christian influence, but had nothing to do with Islam. Muslim Tartars are later phenomenon.

Anonymous said...

And - muslim or not - Lajkonik's function is to mock the frightening invaders. It is hardly a symbol of peaceful coexistence, multiculturalism or anything like that.

Anonymous said...

Poland's historical acceptance of people very different from themselves is one of the things that makes me proud of my Polish heritage. I don't know enough about current Polish life to comment much about this Muslim cultural center. Inviting others is noble, unless they have displayed a desire to destroy you, at which point, they have to work hard to prove themselves and not say "The Jews have one, so should we." Is that a true spirit of peaceful co-existance? I think not.
Radical Muslims have shown that they want to destroy Western life (of which Poland is trying so hard to perfectly mimic)and Christianity. They are also very good at using a countrys' own laws and social norms against itself. Look at what's happening in France and Detroit...this is the future of Europe.

Anonymous said...

The Polish government should allow the building of this mosque as soon as the Saudi government allows the building of a church in Riyadh. Thousands of Christians in that city have no place to pray.

Anonymous said...

So you want the Polish government to be as pucked fup as the Saudi government?

Anonymous said...

Freedom of religion demands equal rights for Christians in Saudi Arabia as much as it demands equal rights for Muslims in Poland. Taking a principled stand against Wahabbi intolerance would be a good first step for a PO government that wants to establish a new foreign policy.

Anonymous said...

One does not take a principled stand by aping the intolerance you want to stand against.

Frank Partisan said...

Bringing up the Saudi situation with Christians, is unrelated to the discussion. Even Iran is more democratic.

Anonymous said...

The Iranians aren't going to pay for this Mosque. I'll give you even money odds it's going to be paid for with Saudi oil money, staffed with people on the payroll of a Saudi "charity," and run with a Jew-hating, Christian-bashing, woman-oppressing ideology that comes straight out of Saudi Arabia. I say this because 80% of the Mosques built in the West ape this formula. Krakow Mosque will likely be no different.

bb_aisha said...

And so the right wing winds blow across europe...

Sylwia said...

I'm afraid Kraków isn't the most cosmopolitan town in Poland, so perhaps they should rather choose Wrocław or Warsaw.

I for one would welcome such a centre in Warsaw. Although there is a mosque here, a centre would allow for promoting Islam in a broader way. Poland was a multicultural country and we are very proud of that, but I'm afraid that the effects of WWII robbed us from the openness to others that we used to show in the past centuries. This can be changed with immigration and greater familiarity with other cultures.

It doesn’t matter who pays for that. The centre can show their own program and everyone can decide for themselves if the information is convincing or not. Such a centre could be also coordinated by the university’s Islamic studies for greater objectiveness, but it certainly would add to our community rather than bring any harm.

As to conversions – I wouldn’t worry about that. Does anyone seriously believe that Poles will ever be anything else than Catholics?

Sylwia, Warsaw

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