Financed by Qatar, the first mosque “masjid” opened in Slovenia
The construction of the mosque and the Cultural Center of Ljubljana, the first of its kind in the Slovenian capital, has been completed
The foundation stone of Slovenia’s first mosque was laid in the capital Ljubljana in 2013 based on modern architecture.
“Since laying the foundation stone of their first mosque and cultural center and till 2015, the Islamic community has faced problems related to funding and opponents of the mosque, but the building work is projected to finish in 2016,” Mufti Nedzad Grabus, the highest representative of Slovenia’s Islamic community told the Anadolu Agency.
He added that Muslim Slovenian Business men contributed to the mosque, the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina donated €5 million and the State of Qatar provided a grant of €15million.
The mosque also includes a cultural center, a library and study halls. The cost of the project is €12 million, 70 percent of which will be met by Qatar.
Slovenia’s Prime Minister, Alenka Bratusek, laid the foundation stone for what will be the country’s first mosque, 44 years after the initial request to build it was made.
“A symbolic victory against all forms of religious intolerance”, said a Slovenian official adding that Europe would not be as culturally rich without Islam.” About 10,000 attended the ceremony in Ljubljana, according to an AFP photographer at the event
This means the world to me,” said a Slovenian Muslim woman, 44, “We will have a proper place to pray, rather than using various public halls.”
Qatar’s Minister of Awqaf Ghaith bin Mubarak Al-Kuwari and Bakr Izetbegovic, the Bosnian member of the tripartite Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina participated in the ceremony.
The mosque will be built on 11,000 square meters area with a height of 12 meters, while the minaret will be 40 meters high.
The first request to build a mosque in Slovenia was filed in 1969. In recent years, the project has run into difficulty over the issue of land, but was eventually solved when the council in Ljubljana sold an area ready for construction to the Muslim community.
However, opponents of the mosque have twice tried to halt the project, once in 2004 and again in 2009, by asking for a referendum. The requests were denied each time by the constitutional court.
Slovenia is home to nearly 47,000 Muslims, making up some 2.4 percent of the country’s two million people population.
A 2002 census found that it was the second largest religion in the country behind Catholicism, which has 1.1 million followers.
Muslim groups claim there are around 80,000 Muslims in the country.
There was a previous mosque in Slovenia, before it was an independent country, but it was destroyed after World War One.
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