German president visits mosque in Berlin
BERLIN - Anatolia News Agency
German President Joachim Gauck (R) and his partner Daniela Schadt (R) visit the Sehitlik Mosque with the Imams Dursun Atak and Murat Sahinarslan (L), during Gauck's first official visit to Berlin, Germany, 22 October 2012. It is Gauck's first official visit to Berlin as German President. EPA/RAINER JENSEN
German President Joachim Gauck has visited the Turkish Şehitlik Mosque in Berlin, Anatolia news agency has reported.
Gauck was greeted by Ender Çetin, the head of the mosque's foundation, alongside several Turkish diplomats.
"We may be strangers in culture, but we have many things keeping us together," Gauck said during the visit. "I am here by my heart. Not by what others have said, but by my own heart. That message is received."
Later on the German president admitted that it was the first time he had ever visited a mosque.
Gauck also said he was pleased to see the youth associated with the mosque treating Berlin as "their own country” and that he was committed to the attitude represented by previous President Christian Wulff.
Wulff had stated during his term that Islam "belonged to Germany."
Çetin said that while not using the exact words of the previous president, Gauck, too, had made his sentiments known.
"He said, 'You are clearly a part of this society,'" Çetin told reporters.