The Planning Committee of Reykjavík City Council has approved a plot of land for the building of a mosque, some 13 years after the original request was submitted.
Vísir reports that the plot will be located on Sogamýri, between Miklubraut and Suðurlandsbraut. While the majority of the committee approved the measure, the Independence Party abstained from voting.
Salmann Tamimi, the Vice Chairperson of the Muslim Society of Iceland, was overjoyed to hear the news. He hopes to be able to begin construction this summer.
Tamimi was one of the original founders of the idea, having first submitted an application for a plot on which to build a mosque in 1999. Many city council ruling majorities have come and gone since then, without the plot application making much progress.
Things changed in 2010, when Mayor Jón Gnarr learned of the delay and told the Grapevine he supported the building of a mosque.
“I don’t see the Muslims of Reykjavík building a mosque as being any sort of problem,” he said. “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.”
A Fréttablaðið poll taken shortly thereafter showed that most Icelanders favoured the building of a mosque, or at least had no problem with it.
According to Statistics Iceland, there are about 700 Muslims living in Iceland.