August 7, 2014
Muslim leaders in the Spanish autonomous region of Catalonia say they have been promised a mega-mosque in Barcelona if they support independence from Spain in a referendum set for November 9.
Officials from the Catalonia’s ruling Convergence and Union Party (CiU) are seeking the ballots of all of the roughly 100,000 Muslims in the region who are eligible to vote. “If you support us in the referendum, there will be a mosque,” CiU officials are said to have promised Muslim leaders, according to Spanish media.
The mega-mosque in question is said to involve a 2.2 billion euro ($3 billion) project to convert a historic bullfighting stadium in Barcelona into the third-largest mosque in the world, after those in Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia.
The tentative plan calls for the Emir of Qatar to purchase the stadium, known as the La Monumental, and to cover all costs associated with converting the property into a mosque. The five-year project would be completed sometime around 2020.
The mosque would also include a research center on the history of Al Andalus, the Arabic name given to those parts of Spain, Portugal and France that were occupied by Muslim conquerors (also known as the Moors) from 711 to 1492.
March 1, 2014
JERSEY CITY (WABC) — Authorities are trying to find out what caused a fire Friday morning at an Islamic center in Jersey City.
The blaze caused extensive water and fire damage at the Al Tawheed Islamic Center.
“All the rooms inside, everything and the roof, too, its big damage,” said Mohamed Osman, a mosque member.
It was around 5:30 a.m. Friday when flames and smoke were shooting through the roof of the mosque on Westside Avenue as several people were showing up for morning prayer.
Bilal Arshad never made it inside.
“All that smoke came in my face; I went away from the door. It was just, way too much to handle,” Arshad said.
By late morning, members of the mosque’s executive board made other arrangements for their midday prayer service.
It was held at the armory in Jersey City.
Investigators are now trying to figure out just how the fire began.
“My investigators have not given me any indication that they’re comfortable where it started yet, but we will, wherever it started, we will find out,” said Jim Shea, Jersey City Public Safety Director.
No one was injured in the blaze, which reached three-alarms. The structure was destroyed.
Firefighters were working in extreme cold conditions which caused water to freeze.
February 14, 2014.
Eighteen years ago, when Shakila Ahmad offered to arrange tours of the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati where she’s a member, she thought she was volunteering for a single weekend.
Since then, 70,000 visitors have stopped by.
What Ahmad offered visitors was an opportunity the vast majority of Americans never get – to enter a mosque, discuss matters of faith face-to-face with their Muslim countrymen and find out what Islam is and what it isn’t.
The reward, Ahmad says, is “seeing the transformation on a person’s face and hearing them ask a difficult question without feeling ashamed or embarrassed.”
“We’re not the same,” she says, “but we have far more in common than we have differences.”
Last month, she assumed one of the area’s highest-profile religious leadership roles when she was elected president of the Islamic Center’s board of trustees – the first woman to hold the role in the Center’s 18-year history and only its second president.
Since October 3rd 1997, the official reunification day of Germany and a public holiday, Islamic organizations and associations held the “day of open doors”. Mosques and Islamic centers all over Germany open doors to invite and gather Muslims and non-Muslims for better inter-religious and cultural understanding. They organize exhibitions, concerts, information desks and discussions. Since 2007, the coordination council of Muslims acts as the patron of this day initiative. The slogan of the event of this year was called “ecology and environmental protection”. Muslims associations aim to show the German public how challenges such as climate change and pollution are of concern of all citizens independent of their religious affiliation.
This interactive map shows the locations of 53 proposed mosques and Islamic centers that have encountered community resistance in recent years. Click on a location for a brief overview of the project based on news reports. In many cases, the opposition has centered on neighbors’ concerns about traffic, noise, parking and property values – the same objections that often greet churches and other houses of worship as well as commercial construction projects. In some communities, however, opponents of mosques also have cited fears about Islam, sharia law and terrorism.
While the map shows only projects that have met resistance, many mosques and Islamic centers have been built in recent years with little or no opposition. See, for example, an article in the Chattanooga Free Press about a mosque that opened in August 2012 in Chattanooga, Tenn.
By the end of 2011, there were at least 2,106 mosques in the U.S., according to the U.S. Mosque Study 2011 (PDF), which was sponsored by a variety of research groups and religious organizations. The Mosque Study Project 2000 (PDF), which was conducted a decade earlier using the same methodology, counted 1,209 mosques across the country in 2000. This suggests that more than four-in-ten mosques in the U.S. have opened since 2000.
NEW YORK — The number of American mosques has increased dramatically in the last decade despite post 9/11 protests aimed at Muslim houses of worship, according to a new study. The new Islamic centers serve Muslims who moved into the suburbs and newer immigrants from Africa, Iraq and elsewhere.
Researchers conducting the national count found a total of 2,106 Islamic centers, compared to 1,209 in 2000 and 962 in 1994. About one-quarter of the centers were built between 2000-2011, as the community faced intense scrutiny by government officials and a suspicious public. In 2010, protest against an Islamic center near ground zero erupted into a national debate over Islam, extremism and religious freedom. Anti-mosque demonstrations spread to Tennessee, California and other states.
The report released Wednesday, “The American Mosque 2011,” is a tally based on mailing lists, websites and interviews with community leaders, and a survey and interviews with 524 mosque leaders. The research is of special interest given the limited scholarship so far on Muslim houses of worship, which include a wide range of religious traditions, nationalities and languages.
“Veoislam” has been launched last January 3rd. This new website aims to be the Islamic version of the popular Youtube. According to their promoters, the goal of Veoislam is spread Islamic videos in Spanish language. The website will have the contribution of different Islamic centers from the Spanish-speaking world.
The controversy over the planned Park 51 community center in New York City is only one example of opposition to mosques and Islamic centers in the United States. Existing and proposed mosque sites across the country have been targeted for vandalism and other criminal acts, and there have been efforts to block or deny necessary zoning permits for the construction and expansion of other facilities.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) called on Islamic Religious Leaders and Imams to use daily and Friday prayers in the nation’s mosques and Islamic centers as a platform for providing information about preventing the spread of swine flu, or the H1N1 virus. CAIR said that imams are in a unique position to offer public health information, and suggests that religious and spiritual leaders stay up-to-date on the spread of the virus in their areas. “In times of crisis, public health and safety takes precedence over normal actions and activities that could lead to the spread of infection,” said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad. “Imams, because of their access to those attending mosques every day, are well-placed to offer advice to community members based on input from public health authorities.” Awad added that the prophet Muhammad encouraged actions designed to prevent the spread of contagious diseases, and that there is a religious obligation to take part in striving to protect human health.
Spain has released a guide on the Muslim community in the country. The guide includes such data such as demographic information and information about mosques and/or places of worship. According to the guide, there are approximately 1.3 Muslims in Spain, with Moroccans, Algerians, Pakistanis, and Senegalese making up the majority. Previous estimates put the number at about 1.5 million out of a total of 40 million in the country. Approximately 300,000 Muslims live in the north-eastern province of Catalonia, 120,000 in Andalusia, and 80,000 in the capital city of Madrid. The guide also shows that there are nearly 400 mosques and prayer spaces in the country, but only 13 “big” mosques and Islamic centers. The guide was released by the Arab House Institution of the immigration Ministry.