Every time the adhan, or Muslim call to prayer is raised in Molenbeek, the call echoes another twenty times. This is because the district is home to 21 mosques, earning the district the reputation of being the Islamic center of Brussels.
In the heart of Molenbeek is the Al-Khalil mosque, which is the largest in mosque in Belgium, and accommodates about one thousand worshippers every Friday for prayers, and also serves as a cultural and social center for the local Muslim community. The number and diversity of the mosques in Molenbeek points to the greater diversity and tolerance in Belgian society, says Abdel-Karim Al-Kebdani, the director of the Al-Khalil mosque.
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A multi-faith football (soccer) league has been recently organized by an Islamic Center in the city of Milan. The league intended to see several teams vie for the “mosque cup” in the Milan stadium. Eight teams from across the northern Lombardy province completed in a one-day competition organized by the mosque. The initiative is part of celebrations marking the 20th anniversary of its Al-Rahman mosque – the first mosque built in Italy. Teams represented local mosques, Catholic churches, and one team was comprised of inter-faith members.
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Head of Austria’s Shi’as Islamic Center said here Wednesday Islamic Republic of Iran granted prestige and grandeur to Muslims throughout the world. Muhammad-Ali Lances who was speaking for a group of pious Iranian youth attending the religious ‘Ea’tekaf’ ritual at Martyrs Mosque of Shiraz, added, “That is why we believe you are not merely responsible for the fate of your own country, but for the fate of the youth of the entire Islamic World.” Head of Austrian Shia’s Islamic Center added, “Furthermore, the Muslim youth can by abiding by the Islamic teachings become an excellent model for the youth of the entire world nations.” Presenting an image of the social, cultural and political status quo of Europe, Lances said, “The Europeans look at Islam as a proud and prestigious faith today, while in near past if someone would convert to Islam in Europe, or any other Western country, they would have accused him of being insane.” Pointing out that the Islamic Revolution of Iran is of great significance both among the European Muslims, and among the followers of other faiths there, he said, “One of the former Austrian presidents used to say that thanks to the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the pious need not feel ashamed of being religious, and they can proudly claim their belief in God.”
Authorities are investigating whether an Islamic center in the southwestern city of Ulm has been attempting to smuggle people into Germany. Meanwhile, the center closed on. Ulm’s Islamic Information Center has been under observation for years, amid suspicion it has harbored and recruited Islamic militants. Stuttgart prosecutors launched a formal investigation into the organization earlier this month, under allegations it tried to illegally bring foreigners into the country.
The end of Ramadan celebration, Eid Al-Fitr, is bittersweet for Italian Muslims this year. A rise in right-wing politicians media exploitation over hot topics such as women’s clothing issues, have frustrated Muslims who would not like for their Eid festivities to be spoiled by bickering over trivialities. Samir Al-Khalidi, imam of the Al-Huda Islamic center states that there are more imminent concerns for most of Italy’s Muslims – “Muslims are focusing on issues such as mosque construction, political representation, integration and Islamophobia.”
Plans to build a mosque on the site of a Windsor dairy will go forward after the Borough of Windsor decided not to appeal the ruling of the government planning inspector in favor of the Islamic center. Local councillors were disappointed at the advice to not challenge the appeal, but they are now working with planning officers to regulate usage of the building, including a ban on weddings, celebrations, and extended hours of operation. Despite the racially motivated violence that took place at the site in October, councillors said that good community relations could be maintained if Medina Dairy respected that the property was in a long-standing residential area.