Qatar’s Minister of Awqaf (Endowments) and Islamic Affairs HE Dr Ghaith bin Mubarak al-Kuwari, member of the Bosnia-Herzegovina Presidency Bakir Izetbegovic (left), Slovenian Prime Minister Alenka Bratusek (second left), Slovenian Mufti Nedzad Grabus (third right) and the Mayor of Ljubljana Zoran Jankovic lay the first stone of what will be the first mosque in Slovenia during a ceremony in Ljubljana yesterday.
The foundation stone of Slovenia’s first mosque, which will be financed by Qatar, was laid at a former industrial site in the capital Ljubljana yesterday, more than four decades since the first official petition was submitted by Muslims seeking their own place of worship.
Qatar’s Minister of Awqaf (Endowments) and Islamic Affairs HE Dr Ghaith bin Mubarak al-Kuwari attended the ceremony along with Slovenian Prime Minister Alenka Bratusek and Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Member of Collective Presidency Bakir Izetbegovic.
Several thousand people attended the ceremony, including Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Jankovic, who helped lay the first stone. The ceremony was also attended by Director of Department for International Development at Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dr Ahmed bin Mohamed al Meraikhi.
HE the Minister of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs said that Qatar, in accordance with the vision of HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and HH the Father Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, works on promoting a civilized image of Islam and Muslims and encourages non-Islamic state to form a dialogue with Islam.
For her part the Slovenian Prime Minister thanked HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and HH the Father Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani and the State of Qatar, for their generosity and their donation to build the mosque.
The laying of the stone was a “symbolic victory against all forms of religious intolerance”, said Bratusek, adding that Europe would not be as culturally rich without Islam.
The initiative has been beset by administrative hurdles and a lack of political will in the mainly Catholic country of 2mn people, of which some 50,000 are Muslims.
Construction of the mosque is expected to begin in earnest in November and is projected to take three years at a cost of some 12mn euros ($15.9mn). The Islamic community will foot most of the cost, thanks to a large donation it expects from Qatar.
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