Copenhagen: City council approves plans for Grand Mosque
The Copenhagen city council approve the controversial Shia Muslim Grand Mosque in Copenhagen.
The city council approved land use plans for building the mosque, with 35 votes from the social Democrats, Social Liberals, Socialist People's Party and Red-Green Alliance
The Conservatives and Danish People's Party opposed, while six members of the Liberals and one from the Red-Green Alliance abstained.
The approval was expected, but the mosque plans have been a subject of a lot of debate, because the mosque will be built like a traditional mosque with 32 meter high minarets, the first in Denmark, and a blue dome.
Additionally, there's been criticism that the Grand Mosque is allegedly financed by the Iranian theocracy.
According to the plans, the building will include a prayer area, amphitheaters, conference rooms, overnight accommodations for guest imams and a library.
The association behind the new mosque on Vibevey in Copenhagen, Ahlul Biat, promised before the vote that they'll never have a call to prayer, reports radio DR P4. This preempted the mosque critics.
A group of Muslims in Roskilde are also planning a new mosque, and they are currently not willing to promise they'll never have a call to prayer.
Iranian freedom organizations fear that the Copenhagen Grand Mosque is financed by the Iranian theocracy, and therefore organized a demonstration last Thursday. The demonstrated against the mosque becoming a center of Iranian extremism, says protest spokesperson Farrokh Jafari.
"Today we will demonstrated against Copenhagen's plans for a Grand Mosque, which is paid for by the Iranian theocracy. We fear that the mosque will not serve its religious purposes, but just camouflage Iran's extended arm in Denmark," says Farrokh Jafari.
He emphasizes that he's not against having a mosque in Copenhagen in general, but that the protest is intended to draw attention to Ahlul Bait's dubious intentions.
"We are not afraid of the mosque itself. We are supporters of religious freedom, and Muslims in Denmark should naturally also have a proper mosque. But we fear that this, which is built by Ahlul Bait, will spread fear among democratic Iranians in Denmark, launder money, and help the regime's people transfer money out of the country, which they've stolen form the Iranian people. This is the experience from England, South Africa and France, where Ahlul Bait is also present," says Farrokh Jafari.
Ahlul Bait claims that the funds for the Grand Mosque come from private individuals in Iran and from collections in Denmark. The organizations who organized the protest don't believe that.
"Ahlul Bait is controlled directly from Iran. It's idiotic to think that an association which uses enormousness amounts of money to run religious centers in large parts of the world, is exclusive run by private donations from a country with economic sanctions."
Sources: Berlingske Tidende 1, 2; Kristeligt Dagblad (Danish)