Copenhagen: In a move seen as consolidating dialogue and understanding, Denmark opened the first mosque with a minaret in the capital Copenhagen n Thursday.
[Guests arrive on June 19, 2014 for the official opening of Denmark's first mosque with a dome and minaret in Rovsingsgade, in Copenhagen's gritty northwest. (Photo credit: THOMAS LEKFELDT/AFP/Getty Images)]
Dubbed Scandinavia's biggest 'real' mosque, the vast complex built on 6,700 square meter (72,118 square feet) with 150-million kroner ($27.2 million) Qatari funds also houses a community centre and other facilities.
The new mosque, which aims to "create a platform for dialogue between Danish Muslims and other groups in Danish society", comes almost nine years after the publication of defamatory cartoons against Prophet Muhammad (PbUH).
"With this platform you can avoid conflicts like the one over the Mohammed cartoons, because it creates dialogue and understanding," Mohamed Al Maimouni, spokesman for the Danish Islamic Council, which owns the mosque, told AFP (Agence France Presse).
The Danish Islamic Council is known for having "a moderate understanding of Islam" and had "an Islamic philosophy based on adjusting to the society you are in," he argued.
Thursday's inauguration of the mosque was shunned by far-right leaders and several Danish politicians over funds from the gas-rich Qatar.
The DPP's leader, Kristian Thulesen Dahl, said he believed Qatar's conservative government "will very likely expect to have a direct or indirect influence on the mosque," hampering the integration of Muslims in Danish society.
Blasting far-right's criticism over Qatari funds, Maimouni described the donations by the Middle Eastern Island as a "generous gift".
"We're not involved in Qatari politics and we have nothing to do with the domestic situation there," Maimouni, the spokesman for the Danish Islamic Council, said.
"The Danish Islamic Council has full power over the rhetoric used here. And that's why we were so happy with this donation: it's a generous gift that comes with no demands," he added.
Before receiving Qatari funds, the Danish Islamic Council has failed to get funds from other Muslim countries.
Along with representatives from the Church of Denmark and the Jewish community, the inauguration was also attended by a Qatari delegation led by its minister of endowments and Islamic affair.
"Islam in Qatar or Morocco is not the same Islam as in Denmark. Of course there are some principles that don't change with place or time, but the other things can be changed," Maimouni said.
Away from far-right criticism, the new mosque got several positive feedbacks.
"I am not a follower of Qatar's form of government or its view on women, but I don't have a problem visiting the new mosque, even though it's co-financed by Qatar," SF member of parliament Özlem Sara Cekic told Jyllands-Posten.