The Islamic Society in Denmark (ISD) has announced the proposed construction of a new mosque in Copenhagen’s Nordvest district, drawing opposition from the Danish People’s Party. The Islamist group is aiming to fund construction with private “no strings attached” donations of £7.5 million (80 million kroner).
Intending to break ground in 2017/18, The Local reports ISD has already started taking donations. A spokesman for the group, which once drew international attention to the Jyllands-Posten Mohammed cartoons resulting in fiery protests in Muslim countries, would not disclose how much has been raised. He did, however, tell Danish newspaper Berlingske they are “well on their way.”
Gifts are accepted from Danish Muslims, those that are members of the ISD as well as others, and from overseas so long as they come with “no strings attached.” The group’s spokesman said:
“Our firm condition is that we will never compromise our independence. Therefore we also welcome foreign donations, as long as they do not come with conditions, meaning that it will not matter if the funding comes from within Denmark or abroad.”
This is a response to another recent mosque construction in the city, funded by the former Emir of Qatar. The Local reported that 150 million kroner project prompted suspicion that the Muslim Brotherhood – through Qatar – would be in a position to influence that mosque’s imams.
A spokesman for ISD said this new project, designed by Henning Larsen Architects, is intended to “combine Nordic architectural traditions with Islamic ones” in order to show the Danes that Muslims “are here to stay” – as such it will not have minarets. He continued:
“We will thereby be sending a signal to our younger generations that we are a part of a Danish identity, while signalling to our older generations that we also have an Islamic identity.”
Some local politicians welcome the new mosque as just another place of worship in multi-ethnic Copenhagen, but city council member and Deputy Mayor for Culture and Leisure, Carl Christian Ebbeson of the Danish People’s Party (known by some as “Danish UKIP“) opposes it. Admitting that all he can do is speak against it, he told Berlingske:
“There are already enough mega-mosques in Copenhagen. These massive eye-catching constructions that sort of symbolise that Islam is present here is not something we need any more of.”
London’s International Centre For The Study Of Radicalisation previously reported that the number of Danish fighters in Syria is second only to Belgium in Europe on a per capita basis.