Muslims revel at first Mosque built in Catholic Slovenia
Despite 50 years of opposition, Catholic Slovenia now has its first Mosque.
The $39 million Mega Mosque received no less than $30 million of its funding from Qatari donations.
Situated in a semi-industrial area of Ljubljana, the Mosque, which can hold up to 1,400 people, constitutes the core of the six-building 'Islamic Cultural Centre'.
The centre also comprises the community’s offices; an education centre, which includes a library, a restaurant, a basketball court, and a 40-metre high minaret.
Despite 50 years of opposition from Slovenian citizens, the huge Islamic complex was permitted.
Opponents of the project had repeatedly tried to halt it, and pig heads and blood have also been left on the site.
Islamic community head Mufti Nedzad Grabus boasted that the Mosque’s opening was “a turning point in our lives.”
“Slovenia is the last former Yugoslav state to get a mosque, making Ljubljana a capital rather than a provincial town on the edge of the world,” he told a press conference.
Muslims in the predominantly Catholic country first filed a request to build a mosque in the late 1960s while Slovenia was still part of the former Yugoslavia.
The community received permission 15 years ago, but ran into opposition from right-wing politicians and groups, as well as financial troubles.
All the buildings are made from white concrete combined with steel, glass and wood.
A large blue textile-made dome dominates the mosque’s interior, referring to heaven and reminiscent of famous mosques like Istanbul’s Blue Mosque.
Muslims make up 2.5 precent of the country’s two million people, constituting the second biggest religious group, according to the last 2002 census.
Prayers will be held five times a days in the mosque, while they are expected to be extended to the platform in front of it during major holidays.
Worshippers will also be summoned to prayer with the help of loudspeakers.