Germans in several cities are complaining about plans to build new mosques, but Ben Knight finds it’s the integrated Muslims in Berlin’s Kreuzberg district eyeing a new house of worship there most sceptically. Sitting in his makeshift office, Birol Ucan has developed an unshakable optimism for addressing the media. At a time when many Germans seem increasingly hostile to Islam putting down roots in their country, this kind of attitude is probably necessary for the big-bellied spokesman of an obscure Arab organization building a new mosque in the heart of Berlin. We thought this room would make a good hairdresser’s, he says, indicating the waist-high power sockets and the plumbing in the wall beside us. We don’t have a tenant yet, but it’s cheaper to install fixtures in advance. This potential barbershop is one of the shop-fronts being installed on the ground floor of the shiny new Maschari Centre currently being built by the Islamic group al-Habash next to G_rlitzer Bahnhof in Berlin’s multicultural Kreuzberg district.

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