New Mosque Opens in France
A new mosque bearing the name of Moroccan King Mohamed VI was consecrated in second week of June amid praise for the cooperation of the French authorities. The president of the French Council of the Muslim Faith (Conseil français du culte musulman), Mohammed Moussaoui, inaugurated the Mohamed VI Mosque in the southwestern French city of Saint-Étienne. The mosque, built on an area of 10,000 square meters, boosts a 14-meter high minaret and accommodates more than 1,000 worshippers. The mosque has been named after Moroccan king Mohamed VI who donated Euros 5 million of the total 8 million of the construction cost. The mosque includes a cultural center which is intended to act like a branch of the famous Paris-based Arab World Institute. The construction of the mosque, said Moussaoui, offered a proof of the cooperation of French authorities with the Muslim community in France to promote freedom of worship. The Saint-Étienne mosque joins a long list of French mosques whose numbers have been on the rise in the past few years. In 2005, the number ofmosques whose area exceeded 1,000 square meters was only 34 while now the number has reached 200. Mosques in France are usually funded by donations from members of the Muslim community in France in case of small mosques while big mosques are usually funded by other Muslim countries especially Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, the UAE, Morocco, Algeria, and Turkey. Mosque cleared for Marseille: Meanwhile, a French appeals court has approved the construction of a large mosque in the city of Marseille, home to an estimated 250,000 Muslims. The mosque, seen as a symbol of Islam’s growing presence in France, has attracted national controversy. The court overturned an October ruling by Marseille’s administrative tribunal that cancelled the project’s construction permit for supposed failures to meet urban-planning requirements. A community association led by a local butcher had filed a complaint against the building permit, saying the mosque project did not fit with the surrounding urban environment. The 22-million-euro ($28-million) project would see the Grand Mosque, boasting a minaret soaring 82-feet high and room for up to 7,000 worshippers, built in the city’s northern Saint- Louis area.