The city of Reykjavík has decided that it can only give one plot of land for building a mosque, although two separate Muslim groups want one. The chairman of the Muslim Society of Iceland says the situation is “like asking the national church to be with the Jehovah’s Witnesses”.
Fréttablaðið reported that Anna Kristinsdóttir, the director of human rights for the city, said that there are indeed two separate Muslim groups in Iceland: the Muslim Society of Iceland numbering 373 members, and another group numbering 218. Both groups have asked for their own plot of land on which they intend to build their own mosques.
The response from the city, however, has been that the two groups are too small to each get their own plot, and should therefore share one. “We have of course not asked the two groups to combine into one,” she said in part, “but that they could possibly form an umbrella organisation, under which they can operate separately.”
Karim Askari, the chairman of the latter Muslim group, told Fréttablaðið that he wasn’t against sharing a mosque with the Muslim Society of Iceland. Salmann Tamimi, the society’s chairman, disagrees, pointing out that his group has waited 12 years for a mosque of their own, and that the city is responding as if all Muslims believe the same things and worship in the same way.
“Our application is completely different from theirs,” Salmann said in part. “This is like asking the national church to be with the Jehovah’s Witnesses.”
As neither the city nor the Muslim Society of Iceland do not seem to want to budge on the matter, the issue is deadlocked for the time being.