Where Opinions Meet

Transcriptions of the interviews around the Fatih mosque at the Willemstraat, Eindhoven.

Person #1 feels that the mosque is too much overshadowed by its neighbouring buildings and that there is not enough free space around the building. Therefore, he suggests removing all buildings in the surrounding area.

Person #2 suggests adapting the facade of the building to its surroundings. He proposes to replace the concrete blocks by traditional Dutch red bricks and decorations.

Person #3 thinks the mosque is too small and too low. He wants to put the whole building on a platform. He would then like to see a staircase in front of the entrance with 5 or 6 steps.

Person #4 thinks that the striped walls are a bit disturbing. He would rather see them plain white. White symbolizes purity and cleanliness, both concepts that relate to the function of a mosque. In addition he proposes golden domes.

Person #5 states that the building does not fit the urban landscape. All the other buildings in the centre of Eindhoven are high-rise and modern. The curves of the mosque are in stark contrast with the other surrounding angular buildings. Person #5 emphasizes that his opinion is not based on his view on the Islam. Christian churches don’t fit the urban landscape either, he says. Despite his critique on religious buildings within the urban landscape he would like to change the building using even more Islamic features and natural materials like marble. As the building is already there, he suggests turning it into an attraction. Therefore he proposes to remove the concrete blocks and plastic frames.

Person #6 thinks the building is ugly, and suggests removing it immediately.

Person #7 proposes to remove the gabled roofs made of glass. He thinks the building is too low and he would like to add an extra floor underneath. This floor should be given a commercial destination. A supermarket can than be established there. He prefers the Albert Heijn (typical Dutch supermarket) and in addition other stores could be opened as well. He would like to replace the concrete blocks by natural stone. The overhang construction above the entrance can be extended around the whole building and underneath the building he suggests to built an underground parking. A park with grass, plants and a waterfall could then replace the current parking lot in front of the mosque. He would like to replace the fence by a more decorative gate. All his ideas are inspired on the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Mosque in Beylikduzu, Istanbul. This is a newly built mosque that he visited last summer and it made a huge impression on him.

Person #8 thinks that the use of the different colours on the building gives it a chaotic appearance. She suggests replacing the brown stones by grey ones, to give the wall a more solid colour. Also the smaller school building should be uniform in colour. Therefore she would replace the red bricks by yellow ones. The domes she would like to keep intact because she assumes they have a religious meaning, a meaning unfamiliar to her.

Person #9 thinks the building is too low and would like to lift it up and place it on a plateau. He would also like to add a second minaret in correspondence with the mosques in Turkey. The parking lot does not offer enough space; therefore he would suggest an underground parking facility.

Person #10 thinks it’s a beautiful mosque. He was 14 years old when it was built. His father invested a sum of 1000 guilders. He does not want to change anything because the community took a share in realizing this building.

Person #11 does not like the building because it is located next to a busy crossroad. The building does not fit the area and therefore he would like it to be moved to another location. He suggests moving it to a quite place, so the community can continue their activities in seclusion.

Person #12 thinks the mosques in Istanbul are much more beautiful, but she likes the domes of this particular mosque. She suggests to replace the plastic frames by wooden ones and paint them beige or grey. The zinc roof is a bit too angular for her taste; she prefers a gentler curved alternative. She doesn’t like the gabled roofs of glass and would therefore remove them. She likes the mosque because of its central location. She doesn’t oppose the Islam and stresses that it is important to get people interact with the mosque in a positive way.

Person #13 thinks the building looks nice but he proposes to remove the minaret because he does not like the call for prayer.

Person #14 does not like the building. She calls it a community building with some domes on it. She would like to see the mosque to have more Arabic features instead. Therefore she proposes to give the building the colours of herbs: crimson, orange, moss green and ochre.

Person #15 doesn’t dare to make any suggestions.

Person #16 believes that there is no place for mosques in the Netherlands. They don’t fit the Dutch landscape. She finds it a bit too radical to suggest removing the whole building. Therefore she opts to get rid of all Islamic architectural features.

Person #17 appreciates the building because it suits its environment and it has a friendly appearance. According to him it would have been perfect if the roof and domes were red. But at the same time he doubts if things should be that perfect. He concludes that difference is good.

Person #18 thinks there is no place for a mosque in the Netherlands.

Person #19 thinks that the building should be bigger. In his view the mosque should be a bit higher with more surrounding space. In the old days the call for prayer was not amplified and the heigth of the minaret determined its scope. To make a reference to this tradition he would have liked to see a larger minaret, although he’s sure this wouldn’t be possible in the Netherlands due to all sorts of regulations.

Person #20 would like the building to be better lit at night. Spherical lighting should illuminate the domes and minaret. He prefers a warmer tone. In addition, he would also like to build a floor underneath the mosque. The building would make a bigger impact, which is good, he says, because now it’s too inconspicuous. On the ground floor several services can be provided like care and education. The boardroom and the house of the Imam would be there as well. He suggests demolishing the current day-care and doesn’t support the idea of a second minaret. Even though he thinks that the building should become more prominent, he also believes that the Turkish Muslim community should take a modest position. He proposes an underground parking garage and a park should then replace the current parking lot. He imagines himself sitting underneath a pergola. The vegetation should remain low. The current hedge surrounding the mosque is low in order to provide passers-by a good view on the building and the gate is always open. The mosque is a place to relax and everybody is welcome.