Approval for the building site application for the so-called “Reykjavík Mosque,” was postponed in a city council meeting yesterday, reports Morgunblaðið. The majority says that it expects that the issue will be dealt with next week.
The Muslim Association of Iceland plans to build the mosque in the Sogamýri area of Reykjavík; the plot application for the mosque was approved in January 2013. The 800 square metre building will include a prayer hall, community center, and library.
Left Green representative Þorleifur Gunnlaugsson said that no other religious communities in Reykjavík have had to wait such a long time for their building applications to be approved—the original application for the mosque’s construction was filed with the city in 2000. Þorleifur pointed to the International Religious Freedom Report filed by the U.S. Department of State in 2008, which also speculated that “political instability on the Reykjavik City Council effectively forestalled progress during the reporting period,” and that “some observers thought that prejudice was behind the delay in approval, since other groups’ applications for similar plots made swifter progress during that time.”
Although a 2010 survey showed that most Icelanders were not troubled by the mosque’s construction, the proposal to construct the mosque has indeed been met with a great deal of anger and bigotry from some quarters in Iceland: recently former Reykjavík mayor Ólafur F. Magnússon suggested that the mosque would “threaten Iceland’s culture and safety” and suggested that a temple to the Nordic gods to be built on the plot instead.