World Bulletin/News Desk
Forty-four years after the inception of an idea to build an Islamic cultural center in Slovenia, the first foundation stone for the center was placed on Saturday in a groundbreaking ceremony in capital Ljubljana.
Thousands of people gathered for the ceremony which was also attended by Bosniak member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Bakir Izetbegovic, President of the Government of Slovenia Alenka Bratušek, former President of Slovenia Danilo Turk, Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Jankovic, mufti of the Islamic Community in Bosnia and Herzegovina Hussein Kavazovic and mufti of Ljubljana Nedzad Grabus.
"I am happy to attend this extraordinary ceremony sharing joy with Bosniaks and Muslims all over Slovenia and Ljubljana, who will soon get their home -- a modern Islamic cultural center and a mosque," Izetbegovic told the ceremony.
"I thank the Republic of Slovenia and Ljubljana for the support to the project by providing the necessary permits and approvals for the construction. Thanks to all people of good will, the governments of friendly countries and organizations for their engagement, their voluntary contributions and donations to the Mufti Nedzad Grabus and his associates in this historic project."
The idea of building an Islamic cultural center in Ljubljana dates back to 1969 when the first formal request was submitted by Sulejman Kemurato, the then head of the Islamic community in Ljubljana.
The Islamic community have since faced problems in obtaining a construction permit and finding a location for the center.
After taking office, Ljubljana Mayor Jankovic offered a new location to build a mosque in the city center. In 2008, Islamic community offered to buy the land.
The initiative has been beset by administrative hurdles and a lack of political will in the mainly Catholic country of two million people, of which some 50,000 are Muslims.
Several thousand people attended the ceremony, including Slovenia's centre-left prime minister, Alenka Bratusek, and Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Jankovic, who helped lay the first stone.
A handful of women in the crowd wore headscarves - an unusual sight in the Alpine ex-Yugoslav republic, a member of the European Union squeezed between Croatia, Italy and Austria.
"This means the world to me," said Sahra Kacar, 44, who was born the same year as the first official petition to build a mosque in Ljubljana was filed. "We will have a proper place to pray, rather than using various public halls."
The most prosperous of Yugoslavia's six republics, Slovenia saw an influx of people from across the region - including Muslims - seeking work over the past 50 years, particularly with the collapse of their joint state in the early 1990s.
Slovenia broke away in 1991 and its economy boomed, while the likes of Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo descended into war.
The proposal for a mosque had been held up by reluctant local officials, some of whom tried to force a referendum on the matter in 2004.
Some 12,000 people signed a petition calling for a plebiscite, but Slovenia's Constitutional Court ruled it would be unconstitutional on the grounds of religious freedom.
"We are happy to be starting this civic project in Ljubljana, which will thus become a better-known and a more pluralistic city," Mufti Nedzad Grabus, the highest representative of Slovenia's Islamic community, told the ceremony.
Construction of the mosque is expected to begin in earnest in November and is projected to take three years at a cost of some 12 million euros ($15.9 million). The Islamic community will foot most of the cost, thanks to a large donation it expects from Qatar.
One of Palestine’s best-known political figures, Barghouti now leads hunger-strike waged by hundreds of jailed Palestinians
Whilst pilgrimage in these times are comfortable, pilgrims in the Ottoman period was nothing less than a three month journey with much sacrifice and one of seven traditional routes used in the journey
Muslims worldwide love and revere the Prophet Jesus. The Quran states: "Behold! The angels said: 'O Mary! God giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him. His name will be Jesus Christ, the son of Mary, held in honor in this world and the Hereafter and in (the company of) those nearest to God.'" (The Holy Quran, 3:45)
In other parts of the world, several muslim majority countries have been lead by both female prime ministers and female presidents. Some are even currently being lead by Muslim Women today.
The research used computer-generated models of people in prayer positions and analysed he effect on lower back pain.
As World Bulletin family, we want to wish a happy and blessed Reghaib night for every Muslim around the world.
Destruction of centuries-old Babri Mosque by Hindus remains simmering issue in India 25 years later
IHH delivers 1,250 packages of food to almost 5,000 families displaced by violence in Yemen
Learn about 10 amazing things you may not have known about the Ka’bah.
The story of Sheikh Yusuf, who went to Arabia at a tender young age never to return to his homeland, turning these far lands into his 'own Macassar', has a lot of deep wisdom
Knowing the correct time of the day for daily affairs is important and it is the inventions from Muslim scientists who have impacted current clock technologies.
Salahudin Ayyubi was a fighter who freed Jerusalem of the Crusaders, he was a living example of the tolerant, progressive, and inclusive faith which was so dear to his heart. By showing restraint and peaceful treatment, Salahuddin was upholding the central tenets of Islam such as freedom of religion and protection of non-Muslims.
There have been numerous contributions to science however the contributions of Muslim scientists and scholars has been immense, in particular for mathematics
Controversial bill proposes that men and women get equal share of inheritance
There are many Muslims over the world but very little known is about the minority Muslims of Vietname. Simone Doenvang, a Dutch convert to Islam has travelled to Asia and has related her experiences with Mvslim
Andalusian thinkers such as Abbas ibn Firnas contributed to an immense amount of rich history during their era but some of the lesser knows thinkers also provided an incredible amount of history, culture and civilizational achievements.