Saudi Arabia’s offer to build 200 mosques in Germany to help western Europe handle the influx of Syrian refugees, has drawn mixed reactions.
On Thursday, September 10, a well-known British atheist branded the news “either a sick joke or sick insult to German generosity.” Amid all the debate, the chancellor of Germany was non-committal. And a Berlin pastor continued to invite Muslims into his church instead.
Atheist author and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins was “horribly afraid” it might not be a joke, referring to the Saudi offer. According to the Huffington Post, Dawkins said that the only thing more useless to refugees in Germany than 200 mosques was 201 mosques.
Chancellor Angela Merkel gave no public response to the proposal by Saudi Arabia, during a news conference in Berlin. Instead, she made this general statement about the refugee crisis to BBC.
“I am happy that Germany has become a country that many people outside of Germany now associate with hope.”
According to Fox News, pastor Gottfried Martens of the evangelical Trinity Church in Berlin, has seen his congregation swell from 150 within two years to over 600 parishioners. Though converting mostly Afghans and Iranians, he expects Syrians getting into the mix. Martens’ converts come from surrounding areas as far as the Baltic sea, attracted to his three-month “crash course” on Christian beliefs leading to baptism, and his willingness to help church members with their asylum cases afterwards.
In a Huffington Post report, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maziere estimates some 800,000 foreign migrants arriving this year, quadruple the number in 2014.
So far, more than 360,000 asylum seekers have entered Germany this year, he said, with July holding the record of 83,000 likely to be broken in August.
He also pointed out that Germany draws the most refugees in the 28-member European Union. With 43 percent of the burden falling on German shoulders, he believes a more equitable distribution of asylum applications across Europe is in order.
Dawkins, a known critic of Christianity and other religions, released his views last April on the Muslim influx.
“Laws designed for seventh century tribal desert society are not always well suited to modern conditions. Jews and Christians mostly realise this. Yes, Christianity and Judaism are every bit as stupid as Islam. But they don’t preach world domination, theocratically imposed law, stoning, etc.”
He was referring to the Muslim mindset steeped in sharia as opposed to the Christian beliefs of the European host countries, founded in love and turning the other cheek.
According to The Independent, the Saudi offer was based on one mosque for every 100 refugees who flooded Germany over the last weekend. While the rich Gulf states, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and the U.A.E. kept their doors shut to asylum-seekers, Saudi Arabia has admitted 500,000 Syrians as workers since the civil war began.
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