The Young Leftist-Greens of Reykjavík passed a resolution last night calling upon city council to deal at last with the Muslim Association of Iceland’s request for a plot of land on which to build a mosque. Reykjavík mayor Jón Gnarr told the Grapevine that the city’s Muslims “hopefully won’t have to wait any longer” for a mosque.
“A mosque is just as important a building in the eyes of Muslims as a church is in the eyes of Christians, and it is therefore incomprehensible that city council has repeatedly rejected their request,” the statement says in part.
In fact, as the Grapevine reported four years ago, the Muslim Association of Iceland – which numbers close to 500 members today – first applied for a plot of land for a mosque in January 2001. No city majority, on the right or the left, has since approved this request. Meanwhile, other religious organizations – among them, the Ásatrú and the Russian Orthodox church – have seen their requests for plots approved.
The Young Leftist-Greens cite Article 65 of the Icelandic constitution, which states “Everyone shall be equal before the law and enjoy human rights irrespective of sex, religion, opinion, national origin, race, colour, property, birth or other status.”
Current mayor Jón Gnarr told the Grapevine in a recent interview, “I don’t see the Muslims of Reykjavík building a mosque as being any sort of problem. They should have their mosque—we should enjoy total freedom of religion, and everyone should be free to worship according to their beliefs. I am not familiar with why they’ve had to wait for so long, but they hopefully won’t have to wait any longer. At least not if I have any authority on the matter.”
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