(MENAFN- Gulf Times)
With Qatari donation, the Islamic Center in Slovenia became a reality after it was first envisaged 50 years ago As one of the most beautifully designed Islamic centres in Europe, the Slovenian Islamic Center in Ljubljana stands testament to spreading Islamic values and promoting moderate principles. His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and Slovenia President Borut Pahor's inauguration of the centre will be a memory etched in the minds of Slovenia's Muslim community, with Qatar's donation instrumental in building it. Given its activities and services, it is set to become one of the most important Islamic cultural centres in the region.
For nearly a century, Muslims have been living in the country. And it's been 50 years after submitting a request to the local authorities for permission to build a house of worship and a cultural centre that represents a symbol of their identity and a bridge to communicate with the younger generations and a step to enhance their integration in the country that was one of the former Yugoslav republics. Director of the centre Harris Mortajek said that work on the mosque began in 2008, when its design was chosen from among 44 other designs, noting that Qatar contributed 28mn euros to build this centre out of the total 35mn euros. The rest was donated by the people of Slovenia. With this assistance provided by Qatar, the centre became a reality on the ground.
He told Qatar News Agency (QNA) that, in addition to holding regular prayers at the Islamic centre, it provides educational services. About 700 children participate in the activities offered by the centre during the weekends, and many students come to visit the centre and learn about Islam.
He added that the centre also provides educational services for adults, and works to present Islam to people in Slovenia, where many people come to see this wonderful centre. The Islamic cultural centre in Ljubljana is considered one of the most beautiful Islamic centers in Europe. It consists of six buildings on a land area of 15,000sqm, and a building area of up to 12,000sqm.
The centre consists of a two-storey mosque that can accommodate about 1,000 worshipers (750 men and 250 women), a two-storey ablution building, accommodating about 50 people, in addition to a three-storey administrative building that includes offices and a meeting hall. The centre also includes an educational building of (three floors) that can accommodate more than 240 students, and a residential building of (four floors) with nurseries for children and several apartments of different sizes that can accommodate about 80 people, in addition to some additional attached buildings (including a restaurant that can accommodate about 100 people). And parking lots for 108 cars, a gym equipped with the latest equipment, with a capacity of up to 200 people, and a theatre that can also accommodate more than 200 people.
In its social dimension, the centre represents a civilised and cultural bridge for acquaintance and rapprochement between all spectrums of Slovenian and European society, a living model of mutual respect, dialogue, co-operation and brotherhood among citizens of European countries, and a springboard for more peaceful coexistence enjoyed by generations. The Imam said the history of the mosque goes back more than 50 years, but it was a small mosque for prayer only, and Qatar wanted to do something for Muslims in Slovenia, so it donated nearly 28mn euros to establish this great edifice whose role does not stop at serving Islam and Muslims in Slovenia only, but in a number of European countries.
He added that Qatar's donation turned the mosque into an Islamic landmark that provides many educational, recreational and academic services to Muslims residing in Slovenia, pointing out that in the past, the number of worshipers in the mosque did not exceed 200 people, but now the number of worshipers in the Eid prayer has reached nearly 5,000 people. He said the centre opened all its services for Muslims at the beginning of 2020, and despite the circumstances and procedures imposed due to Covid-19, he was surprised by the large numbers that came in every prayer, especially Friday prayers, which means that the centre affected the lives of Muslims and made them better.
He thanked His Highness the Amir and Qatar for supporting the mosque, highlighting that it changed the lives of many Muslims in the country.
He added that the mosque accommodates more than a thousand people inside, while it accommodates more than 3,000 others in its wonderfully designed courtyards, pointing out that there is a prayer room for women.
The number of Muslims in Slovenia is about 88,000, who constitute about 3% of the total population of the country. The Muslim population in Slovenia consists mainly of Bosnians (who make up 73.64 % of Slovenian Muslims), and Albanians (who constitute 11.03 % of the country's Muslims). With small percentages of ethnic Slovenian, Roma, Macedonian and others.
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