A Mosque for Slovenia’s Muslims?

Written by http://www.daily.pk

Slovenian authorities continue to procrastinate over authorizing the construction of the first mosque in Ljubljana, the Slovenian capital, despite that the Muslim community of Slovenia, which consists of 100,000 people, has been pushing for a mosque to be built for over 40 years.
The Catholic Church called for a referendum on this issue, which was carried out early 2008 and the majority of participants voted that the construction of the mosque should go ahead as planned. However the authorities, so far, have failed to issue the necessary permits required for the construction of the mosque.

In addition, Slovenian fanatics also sent a threatening letter to Slovenian officials warning them of the consequences should they grant Muslims permission to build the mosque and Islamic Cultural Centre. This letter was sent by an anonymous group calling itself ‘Slovenski Orli’ meaning Slovenian Eagles.

Although Muslims in Slovenia have waited many years for the dream of a mosque to be realized, they have not yet lost hope, especially since Muslims all over the world feel that the interfaith talks conducted between Muslim, Catholic, and Protestant leaders on a global scale seem to be bearing fruit.

The Muslim community of Slovenia covers several Slovenian cities including the capital Ljubljana, and Maribor, Koper, Jessenice, and others.

Leader of the Muslim community in Slovenia, Mufti Nedzad Grabus told Asharq Al-Awsat, “We have not lost hope, and we continue to demand our cultural rights, which are guaranteed under the Slovenian constitution, a number of European laws, and by the Universal Declaration for Human Rights.” He added, “Since the door has not been shut completely, and with God’s help it will not be, we will continue to remind them of our demands. It is better for the Slovenian government, and other European governments, to allow Muslim religious and cultural institutions to operate overtly, and not be forced underground.”

The Slovenian Mufti also highlighted the level of sympathy that the Muslim community has received “from the majority of the Slovenian people, and some political and intellectual figures, who are not blinded by bigotry and Islamophobia.” He added, “The referendum proves that the medieval mindset remains amongst a minority, in spite of its influence and grip.” There are over 3000 churches in Slovenia.

“Their reasons [for rejecting the mosque] are weak and founded on hatred. As I said before, it is better for Muslims and for the countries in which there are Muslim citizens, to allow us to practice our religion in the light of day, and not be forced to practice in unknown places, which is what occurred in France, for example.”

MORE: http://www.daily.pk/world/europe/8656-a-mosque-for-slovenias-muslims.html

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