Saturday, June 21, 2014

Response to blasphemous Cartoons of Prophet: Grande Mosque opens in Denmark,

On Copenhagen’s Skyline, Grand Mosque Complex Emerges as New Landmark
Muslims Society’s dream project of 45 years crystallized for all Muslims Sects
Syyed Mansoor Agha

On Copenhagen’s Skyline, Grand Mosque Complex Emerges as New Landmark
Muslims Society’s dream project of 45 years crystallized for all Muslims Sects
Syyed Mansoor Agha

Only nine years back Denmark was in news for wrong reasons when a news paper from Copenhagen published blasphemous cartoons of Prophet of Islam SAW on 25th Sep, 2005. Nine years later on June 19, 2014 the country is in headlines again but for quite different reasons, opening a  ‘Grand Mosque’, the first of its kind in any Scandinavian Country.
The cartoons, a deliberate effort of “Jyllands-Posten” to defame Islam and depict its Prophet in bad light outraged Muslims worldwide. Violent demonstrations caused killing of dozens people and loss of property. In many countries Danish properties came under attack. The news paper refused to correct its deliberate attempt to create Islam phobia among masses. The amendment came only after people in many Muslim countries boycotted Danish products and some countries banned the imports which adversely affected the economy of world’s leading milk food producer.
Danish Islamic Council responded the attack on Islam and its Prophet PBH in a different way. The council doubled its effort to build a Mosque and a modern Islamic Center in place of an old warehouse which was being used for the purpose till then.
It could be possible only when City Council of Haderslev unanimously decided to treat the building of a mosque like any other construction project and approved the plan reversing a decision taken by its own planning and environmental committee. The committee had rejected the plan of building a mosque. Reversing the order, only restriction the council made was that the minaret cannot be 19 meters tall as planned, but only 12 meters. New verdict was the result of left-wing party Enhedslisten who brought up the case with the city council, as it believed Muslims had been exposed to differential treatment.
Reacting to the reversed decision of City Council a spokesperson of Islamic Center was reported as sying, “We are completely speechless.”
“This means a lot to me, the younger generation and the elderly in the area,“ spokesperson Qaiss Shouker told DR Nyheder.
The buildings of the Mosque and Islamic Center is spread over 6,800 sqm in the capital city of Copenhagen. The project received generous contributions of 20 million Euros from former Amir of Qatar, Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani.“
Dismissing apprehensions of certain elements that the Qatar’s donation shall “harden radicalism” in Scandinavian Muslims, Mohamed al-Maimouni, spokesman, Danish Islamic Council had stressed "In this way we can promote our moderate message of Islam. The Emir [of Qatar] would really like this." —
A news paper reported:
“The Imam who will lead the mosque, 53-year-old Jehad Al-Farra, is associated with the Muslim Brotherhood. Al-Farra said last month that while he has ties to the organisation, which works to create a single global Islamic community and which is criticised for following Sharia laws, the organisation that runs the mosque embraces several Muslim sects.“
Reporting the opening of the Mosque “Euro News” wrote on June 20, 2014,
 “Denmark’s Muslims have their first ‘Grand Mosque’, complete with a minaret. Dubbed as Scandinavia’s biggest ‘real’ mosque, the vast complex in Copenhagen also houses a community centre and other facilities.”
After completion of installation of prefabricated Minaret in last February, Mohamed al Mainouni, the media spokesperson for Dansk Islamisk Råd, the 25,000-member organization of Sunni Muslims responsible for building new land mark of Copenhagen, said that seeing the minaret put into place was a significant moment.” 
"This is a happy and big day for Muslims here in Denmark," al Mainouni told public broadcaster DR. "This is quite simply a dream that is being realised, so this is huge."
“Jyllands-Posten” mischief
Before the opening of the Mosque, the news paper “Jyllands-Posten”, infamous for blasphemous cartoons’ tried to spread mischief again by criticizing Muslim’s well known stand on fast spreading sexual miss-adventure of homosexuality. Only two days before the opening of Mosque, the paper published a comment of Mohamed Al Maimouni, a spokesperson for the Danish Islamic Council in response to a query by the paper:
“Within Islam, homosexuality is wrong, of course, it is considered an illness.”
However Al Maimouni underlined that everyone was welcome at the mosque whatever their sexual orientation, and that they would be happy to advise people who want to “get out of the situation they are in”.
This outraged some elements and they approached the police to organize a “non-violent” demonstration against the Islamic belief at the time of opening ceremony outside the Mosque, but local police squarely refused the permission and suggested only 50 person may be allowed to demonstrate outside the parliament house and not near the Mosque Complex. However no demonstration was reported. However some statements were published in papers. In a comment published in Jyllands-Posten, the minister of integration, Manu Sareen, reportedly said,
“That homosexuality should be a disease is a completely absurd statement, and I think it is sad that a prominent person within Islam comes forward with rubbish like that in today’s Denmark,” Sareen said.
Martin Henriksen, the integration spokesperson for Dansk Folkeparti, said that the statement was an example of the conservative form of Islam coming from Qatar.
Many prominent people, including PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt (S) declined to attend on the pleas of scheduling difficulties, while others criticised the mosque for Qatar economic aid and expressed fear that Qatar will attempt to influence Danish Muslims and use a more “conservative form of Islam to radicalise them”. In fact these elements want Muslims to disobey Sharia law on sex relations. “Sex before marriage” is now open in European society which is strictly prohibited in Islam and this out rages them. 
Not All Negative
However left-leaning media reported more positively on the mosque’s opening. Despite the mosque being Sunni-run, a paper reported, Shia Muslims, including the Imam Seyed Mohammed Khademi’s, participation in the opening ceremony is very much in contrast to the bloody relations between the groups in the Middle East.
The SF Member of Parliament Özlem Sara Cekic was also positive.
“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,” she told Jyllands-Posten
“Just like I don’t have a problem visiting the Opera House, even though it was financed by Maersk.”
A radio report before the opening ceremony said, “The Royal House, the nation’s ministers and most of the seven deputy mayors of Copenhagen have been invited, but only the city’s deputy mayor for social issues, Jesper Christensen, agreed to show up.”
“Some conservative and radicalised sectors can use this as yet another argument against the democratic system and that politicians basically don’t want Muslims,” Yildiz Akdogan, a Socialdemokraterne City Council member, reported DR Nyheder.
Mohamed Al Maimouni – lamented the news of declining the invitations and argued that it could worsen integration in Denmark.
“We are talking about Denmark’s first grand mosque – something that Muslims have been waiting over 40 years for,” Al Maimouni said. “This really means a lot to us.”
As reported by the media large number of Muslims rushed to join the ceremony. They included all followers of all sects. 
The Design
An architect associated with the designing of the complex was reported some time back as saying:
The mosque design is rooted in modern Scandinavian tradition and strongly inspired by Islamic architecture. As a long ceramic wall folding around itself in a cascade of five edges, the mosque spirals 46 meters towards the sky as an Islamic counterpart of the Our Saviour Church steeple in Copenhagen. From the inside it is a completely open structure where the traditionally closed ceiling is replaced by the Scandinavian sky - a mosque bathed in Danish daylight. While a great deal of Islamic architecture is about controlling and minimizing direct sunlight, the ambition of the new Danish mosque is to maximize its ability to absorb the sun. The mosque is expected to support and facilitate the cultural integration of Islamic and Danish societies and strengthen the ties between the Danish Muslim community and the region.
"Our purpose was to design a Danish mosque as an interpretation of the Islamic architectural and cultural tradition adjusted to the Danish context - the same elements that we know from traditional mosques in the Arabic world, adapted to Danish climate conditions and lighting." Founder and Creative Director, BIG, Bjarke Ingels
(syyedagha@hotmail.com)

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