Mosque grab-bag

Mosque grab-bag

I have quite a few news stories piled up from the past couple of weeks.  I gathered all the stories related to mosques here. 

Montpellier, France

About 450 Muslims (1,000 according to the organizers) protested against the municipality for taking control of the mosque in the La Paillade neighborhood.  The mosque in question belongs to the city.

According to Imam Mohammed Khattabi, the municipality does not interfere in the affairs of Christians and Jews and they want to be treated just like everybody else.  Fargi Allal, one of the leaders of the protest, says they don't need the taxpayer's money.  They want to either buy the current mosque, or buy land and get a building permit so they will have an independent mosque.

Source: Midi Libre (French)

Creil, France

The 'mosque' in the Guynmenr neighborhood of Creil, located in the basement of a public housing building, has been operating for 18 years without basic safety requirements, and a month ago the review board decided not to allow it to continue.  According to Mohamed Mihoubi, president of the cultural association of Guynemer, the authorities knew about the situation till now, but tolerated it.  In a recent meeting the owners, Oise-Habitat, revealed that they have not been allowed into the building, and want the municipality to be aware of the way the basement is being used.
The mayor, Jean-Claude Villemain, says that the mosque is set to close within a year, but he is unclear about the alternatives.  One of the problems is that if the Muslim community in Guynemer is offered land or premises for a mosque, other communities will demand the same.

When the great mosque was built the mayor at the time wanted all the other smaller mosques to be closed down.  Officially Creil has three mosques, but unofficially there are many more.

Source: Le Parisien (French)

Bourgas, Bulgaria

The Bourgas city council recently voted to rescind its decision to allocate a plot to build a mosque, due to a desire to preserve the ethnic and religious peace in the city, and pressure by the Ataka party, which controls the council.  The Muslim community intends to file a complaint with the EU.  Bulgaria's mufti, Mustafa Alish Hadzhi, says that the decision will arouse the wrath of Islamic groups and threatened the social peace.

Sources: Sofia News Agency (English), le blog laiciste (French)

Athens, Greece

Athens fined a warehouse owner in Neo Ionia suburb of Athens, whose Pakistani renters turned it into a mosque, 87,000 euro

Mr. Arsent Sezar, head of the mosque, says that Muslims believe in  Jesus and are therefore Christian too.  Naim El-Ghandour, president of  the Muslim Association of Greece, accuses the Greek authorities of working against the Muslim community in finding a solution, and threatens to go to the European court of Human Rights.

Source: Greeks Rethink (English)

Milan, Italy

The church of San Giovanni Crisostomo is hosting Muslim prayer.  Father Piero Cecchi, who is helping out the Muslims despite protests from his community, says it is not the first time Muslims asked for help, and it will not be the last.  He says this community is very respectful and is not trying to cause provocations, but they do need a mosque or they might face a situation similar to that of viale Jenner, where the Muslims pray in the streets

The local Muslims purchased a warehouse where they intended to build a mosque, but the project was rejected by the city, and the Muslims turned to the courts.  They are meanwhile running 'sfhits' of prayers and renting out a school.

Source: la Repubblica (Italian)

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