Islam in France: Mosque in Strasbourg, Where French Mix With Muslim Neighbors

Photo by Patrick Hertzog / AFP

Photo by Patrick Hertzog / AFP

The Great Mosque of Strasbourg has become a tourist destination, a place for school excursions, and a gathering place for the French to meet their Muslim neighbors, says The Washington Post. Inaugurated on September 27, 2012, the mosque has become a familiar landmark in a city where an estimated 40,000 Muslims reside.

According to Said Aalla, who is president of the mosque’s governing council, in addition to serving area Muslims, the availability of the mosque is meant to demystify Muslims and their religion for their non-Muslim neighbors. “From the very beginning, we wanted to be open to the people around us,” he said.

Read the full story here.

 

The story also notes how the Great Mosque and its construction was an example of the tensions that surround France’s growing Muslim community. After 15 years of meetings between Muslim figures and city officials, approval was granted in 1993 but it was not until 2000 that land was leased and contracts made. Then conservatives took over city hall in 2001 and attempted to bury the mosque project. The project did not truly start until 2004, says The Washington Post, but even then went nowhere. It was with the new administration under Mayor Roland Ries in 2008 that the project was freed up to its completion and opening last year.

Restrictions placed on the mosque and its design in 2001 (including a minaret, cultural center, and tea salon) have been lifted by Ries, and the article reports that architect Paolo Portoghesi has been asked to design the extensions.

For more pictures and facts on the Great Mosque, visit Direct Matin news site here.

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