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Eco-friendly mosque planned for Germany


An eco-friendly mosque is being planned for Norderstedt, northern Germany, with wind turbines in its minarets. Photograph: Heribert Proepper/AP
A small Muslim community in northern Germany is pioneering renewable energy sources by planning to build a mosque with wind turbines in its minarets.

The €2.5m (£2.2m) project would see the mosque in Norderstedt, near Hamburg, become one of the first to turn the minaret, the place from which the muezzin called the faithful to prayer, into a wind-fuelled power source.

The eco-friendly building is the brainchild of the Hamburg architect Selcuk Ünyilmaz, who has long incorporated energy efficiency into his work. “I thought about how we could give sacral architecture an ecological focus,” he said. “My design combines the modern with the traditional, so I wanted to give the minarets a contemporary function.” 

The wind turbines will be housed in two 22-metre-high minarets and Ünyilmaz plans to install a pair of 1.5-metre glass rotor blades in each tower. At certain times of the day light will be beamed at the blades to create a kind of light show.

Until now the 200-strong congregation, part of the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs, has made do with a 100-year-old building ill-equipped to house a religious community. But last month local authorities approved plans for the project, which will measure about 1,300 sq metres and comprise two parts, the mosque and a larger building containing shops, travel agents, a cafe, hairdresser and offices.

“We want to create a meeting place for people from all religions and nationalities,” Ugur Sütcü, the chairman of the Norderstedt congregation, told the Hamburger Abendblatt newspaper. “There will be advisory services on offer, as well as social, cultural and sporting activities.”

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