Antwerp: Less, bigger mosques

Antwerp has 36 mosques and according to the alderman in charge of diversity, Monica De Coninck, this is 75% too much. She would like to see up to nine medium sized, well equipped and safe mosques. The initiative must come from the Muslim community.

Many Islamic mosques are located in old buildings which are too small. Some mosques are simply dangerous, for example since they lack an emergency exit.

De Coninck says that the new mosques should be built in existing neighborhoods, but planning wise that is not obvious. A work-group tackled the issue of what are the requirements for religious spaces. The Flanders urban planner could start a project to see how a mosque can be architecturally integrated into the western street scene.

A study of mosques in Antwerp started last year shows that barely two complied with the NPO law. After threats from the attorney general, most had meanwhile fixed the problems.

Source: HLN (Dutch)

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