COPENHAGEN – After nine year of the publication of Prophet Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) defamatory cartoons, Denmark has opened the first mosque with a minaret in the capital Copenhagen, a move seen as consolidating dialogue and understanding.
“With this platform you can avoid conflicts like the one over the Mohammed cartoons, because it creates dialogue and understanding,” Mohamed Al Maimouni, spokesman for the Danish Islamic Council, which owns the mosque, told AFP (Agence France Presse) on Thursday, June 19.
The Danish Islamic Council is known for having “a moderate understanding of Islam” and had “an Islamic philosophy based on adjusting to the society you are in,” he argued.
With 150-million kroner ($27.2 million) Qatari funds, Denmark’s largest mosque opened on Thursday in Copenhagen’s gritty northwest district, to accommodate the fast growing Muslim population.
Built on 6,700 square meter (72,118 square feet), the mosque complex will include a mosque, a cultural center, a television studio and a fitness center.
Thursday’s inauguration of the mosque was shunned by far-right leaders and several Danish politicians over funds from the gas-rich Qatar.
The DPP’s leader, Kristian Thulesen Dahl, said he believed Qatar’s conservative government “will very likely expect to have a direct or indirect influence on the mosque,” hampering the integration of Muslims in Danish society.
The DPP’s controversial anti-Muslims remarks are not the first.
Earlier in 2013, the DPP was sued after producing an anti-immigration advertisement which has branded 700 new citizens as suspected terrorists.
In 2007, the DPP, the third-largest political force in Denmark, has put forward a string of draft laws calling for a ban on hijab in public places and denying Muslims special worship areas in the workplace.
The party has also called for a ban on halal meat in daycare centers and on separate locker rooms for Muslim schoolgirls.
The anti-immigration groups also exploited Maimouni’s recent remarks against homosexuality to campaign against the mosque.
Blasting far-right’s criticism over Qatari funds, Maimouni described the donations by the Middle Eastern Island as a “generous gift”.
“We’re not involved in Qatari politics and we have nothing to do with the domestic situation there,” Maimouni, the spokesman for the Danish Islamic Council, said.
“The Danish Islamic Council has full power over the rhetoric used here. And that’s why we were so happy with this donation: it’s a generous gift that comes with no demands,” he added.
Before receiving Qatari funds, the Danish Islamic Council has failed to get funds from other Muslim countries.
Along with representatives from the Church of Denmark as and the Jewish community, the inauguration will be also attended by a Qatari delegation led by its minister of endowments and Islamic affair.
“Islam in Qatar or Morocco is not the same Islam as in Denmark. Of course there are some principles that don’t change with place or time, but the other things can be changed,” Maimouni said.
Away from far-right criticism, the new mosque got several positive feedbacks.
“I am not a follower of Qatar’s form of government or its view on women, but I don’t have a problem visiting the new mosque, even though it’s co-financed by Qatar,” SF member of parliament Özlem Sara Cekic told Jyllands-Posten.
The new mosque, which aims to “create a platform for dialogue between Danish Muslims and other groups in Danish society”, comes almost nine years after the publication of defamatory cartoons against Prophet Muhammad (PbUH).
The cartoons, considered blasphemous in Islam, were later reprinted by European newspapers on claims of freedom of expression, straining relations between the Muslim world and the West.
The cartoon crisis, however, has prompted Muslims worldwide to launch campaigns to highlight the merits of the Prophet.
Islam is Denmark’s second largest religion after the Lutheran Protestant Church, which is actively followed by four-fifths of the country’s population.
Denmark is home to a Muslim minority of 200,000, making three percent of the country's 5.4 million population.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net - Read full article here
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