Berlin thinks it is making religious history as Muslims, Jews and Christians join hands to build a place where they can all worship. The House of One, as it is being called, will be a synagogue, a church and a mosque under one roof.
The foundation stone of “The House of One” will be laid in Berlin on 27 May. It is a unique venture, the first house of prayer and sacred building planned from the start by Christians, Jews and Muslims.
Each will have their own space for worship, with doors that open onto a shared “fourth room”, encouraging conversation and fellowship. Project leaders told a Religion Media Centre briefing that it is a symbol of how humanity can move on from conflict to dialogue and peace-making yesterday.
The building, with a tall square tower, will contain separate rooms for religious services and a common area for meeting. The heads of Germany’s Central Council of Jews and Central Council of Muslims have welcomed the project and the religious exchange it aims to make possible.
The House of One is the product of a grassroots group of three religious communities. The initial idea came from a protestant church community which then joined forces with a Jewish community – with a rabbinical seminary – and a Muslim initiative for dialogue.
Voices From Religious Leaders
The past few weeks have shown once again how important it is for religions to live together peacefully . “It is more necessary than ever,” says Bishop Christian Stäblein from the Evangelical Church Berlin-Brandenburg-Silesian Upper Lusatia (EKBO) in Berlin.
Women and men of Jewish, Christian and Muslim faith stand together when fundamentalists threaten their religious brothers and sisters.
Imam Kadir Sanci, House of One, continues: “These words remind us how important our work is: A peace commitment that emanates from Jewish, Christian and Muslim women and men and includes all others. It’s time to show solidarity. We cannot afford to be silent. ”
The House of One should give the dialogue a permanent place. “We are building the house to set an example,” says Rabbi Andreas Nachama. I am confident that over the years this snowball will grow into a bigger one. ”
Image: House of One/René Arnold