The role and position of Muslims in Germany has been a controversial topic for years. This unresolved conflict manifests itself most acutely in controversies over the construction or renovation of mosques or mosque facilities. In this article, I examine two such controversies. I focus on themes of civic participation and visibility, to illustrate how mosque conflicts, regardless of their final outcomes, constitute important elements of Muslim localization. I argue that such conflicts are not isolated incidents but are embedded in larger processes of urban cultural and political negotiations and transformation. Mosque conflicts reflect the quest for visibility as expressed in the wish to construct a minaret. This quest is one step in a long journey toward recognition and participation, it symbolizes moments of arrival, and emphasizes local roots and commitment. I illustrate how mosque conflicts constitute crucial elements in the construction of future multi-ethnic and multi-religious cityscapes. Such controversies are both catalysts for further Muslim urban civic participation and results of lengthy processes of Muslim localization. Spatial presence becomes an expression of political presence, and the quest for participation, visibility, and citizenship. Opponents and municipalities’ struggles for control of the built environment in such conflicts represents attempts to order cities and societies at a historical moment when dynamics of globalization undermine the power of urban and national governments.


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pp. 793-818
Launched on MUSE
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