Ljubljana mosque opening doors
Ljubljana, 3 February - The Ljubljana mosque, which the Islamic community in Slovenia has been striving for for decades, will be inaugurated in June after the end of Ramadan, while it will already start operating in about a week, Mufti Nedžad Grabus announced on Monday.
Presenting the Muslim Cultural Centre Ljubljana, as it is officially called, Grabus told the press the centre was a milestone event for Muslims in Slovenia, who were finally getting their own space for prayer and activities.
Grabus, who highlighted the cultural and educational aspects of the centre, looked back at the efforts to obtain the mosque, which is located just north of the city centre.
Plans for a different location failed in 2006, while the plot between Parmova and Kurilniška streets was secured in 2008 and the foundation stone laid in 2013. Construction was suspended in 2017 and resumed in 2018.
Grabus spoke of one of the most beautiful Islamic cultural centres in Europe. It has a capacity of 1,400 worshippers and comprises a 24-metre cube containing the dome and a 40-metre-high minaret.
Aside from offices, classrooms, a washing room and a residential section, it also houses a gym and restaurant. A car park is attached as well, with Grabus announcing the gym, restaurant and car park could also be rented out to help fund maintenance.
The project will end up costing slightly over EUR 34 million, roughly EUR 28 million of which was provided by donors from Qatar. EUR 2 million came from other countries while EUR 4 million was collected by Muslims in Slovenia, whose number Grabus put at around 80,000.
The mufti rejected speculation the donors from Quatar could have asked for any favours or a role in the centre's activities in return for the funding.
Prayers will be held five times a days in the mosque, while they are expected to be extended to the platform in front of it during major holidays.
Like is customary abroad, worshippers will also be summoned to prayer with the help of loudspeakers, but Grabus announced this would be limited to the centre's main platform. "We will make an effort not to upset the Slovenian public," he said.
It remains to be determined in what way the centre and mosque will be open to the general public. At present, the idea is to enable visits to the mosque when it is not used for prayer, initially free of charge and later possible for a fee.