The Muslim community in the Swedish municipality of Växjö has increased so dramatically, according to local leaders, that they are now planning to build a giant mosque to hold at least 1,000 people, possibly with the help of foreign backers in the Middle East.
Local imam Ismail Abuhelal said that the current mosque, the Växjö Muslim Foundation which was founded around 15 years ago, is simply not big enough to house the growing number of worshippers in the area, Lokaltidningen reports.
“When we celebrate that Ramadan is over and in connection with the trip to Mecca there can be up to 2,000 people who come to the mosque, then we have had to use the old Folkets park or be outdoors,” Abuhelal said.
The imam added that the new mosque would be a mix of traditional and modern architecture and would feature a prominent minaret, as well.
Last year the Muslim community was able to get permission from local authorities to broadcast the call to prayer publicly, despite opposition from the populist Sweden Democrats who voiced their concerns saying, “Prayer announcements in public places and in foreign languages are not part of Swedish society.”
Swedish Police Agree to Allow Mosque to Publicly Broadcast Islamic Call to Prayer https://t.co/swn9afK04e
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) May 9, 2018
Imam Abuhelal admitted that so far the community has not sought out the proper planning permission from the government to build the mosque but said he was hopeful it would be built by around 2025.
“We may be able to get help from rich Arab countries such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia, or the United Arab Emirates. A Muslim considers it a good thing to help other Muslims build a mosque where there is no mosque,” he said.
“We have had contacts with those countries about this. We have not received any promises, but there are people there who are willing to help with money to build the mosque,” he added.
Foreign funding of mosques has become a hotly debated topic in several European countries that are currently seeking to ban foreign-funded imams and mosques due to the often more radical forms of Islam that follow them.
French President Emmanuel Macron has suggested a ban on foreign-funding, and in Germany, the government has considered a “Mosque tax” to allow Muslims to give their tax money directly to domestic Muslim associations.