April 19, 2011 By

Denmark gets the biggest Mosque

DSC06207Denmark was witness to the construction of its first minaret, a 20-meter structure, the other day as the project for the biggest mosque in Scandinavia at Rovsingsgade street in Norrebro in northwestern Copenhagen, is getting its finishing touch with the tall structure altering Copenhagen’s skyline.

The construction of the minaret was completed on September 3 marking the final phase of the massive project. The mosque complex that has an area of 6,800 square meters with a domed mosque, offices, classrooms, a cinema, a restaurant, childcare facilities, a playground, a community center for the aged and more will cater to Sunni Muslims. The former Emir of Qatar Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani had donated $26 million for the construction of the mosque. Mohamed al-Maimouni, spokesman of the Danish Islamic Council, the 25,000 member umbrella group that is building the mosque, said that “in this way we can promote our moderate message of Islam.” He said that the minaret at the mosque would not be used for the time being to call the faithful to prayer five times a day as a token demonstration of moderation. According to him, Islam should adapt itself to the location in which it was being practiced. The Council has not applied for permission for the Adhan (call for prayer) so far.

While the construction of the Norrebro mosque didn’t raise any sharp criticism, another mega mosque project in Copenhagen that will cater to the 80,000 Shia Muslims living in Denmark has started raising much hue and cry. Critics say that the mosque would serve only Iran’s interests in Denmark rather than the religions purposes.

The mosque named Imam Ali mosque to be built in the Vibevej district in northwestern Copenhagen with an area of 2,000 square meter will have a prayer hall for 3,000 believers at a time in addition to a library, conference room, an amphitheater and ample accommodation for visiting religious scholars. The mosque will have two 32-meter minarets.

This project is facing resistance from various corners as it is alleged to be sponsored by Ahlul Beit Foundation, a Shia Muslim group which has several centers around the world. Critics say that Ahlul Beit Foundation is opposed to other moderate and secular Muslim groups and that it is intolerant towards other brands of Islam that oppose Iran. Former head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps Mohammed Mahdi Khademi is said to become the chief Imam of the new mosque.

Meanwhile, Copenhagen City Council member Lars Aslan Rasmussen said that he was worried that Muslims in Denmark would be radicalized with these kinds of gifts like the one from Qatar and construction of mosques.

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