Ukraine's first grand mosque Ar-Rahma, stands for mercy, accompanied with a minaret is inaugurated on Saturday following a ceremony in capital Kiev on the twentieth anniversary of the independence of Ukraine.
Anna German, representative to Ukraine president said in her address at the opening ceremony "On the occasion of the inauguration of this mosque, I congratulate all Muslims in Kiev and Ukraine. This occurrence is a symbol of Ukraine's and Ukraine constitution's protection of human rights and liberty of conscience. This is the success of our democratic state."
"In the 20th anniversary of the independence of Ukraine we have proved that one can live without religious disputes, conflicting with complaisance and tolerance, respect to other cultures, religion and high moral values." added Anna.
German concluded her speech as "I want tranquility in this house (mosque), in the houses in Ukraine and all over the world."
Available to accommodate three thousand prayers, the mosque was reportedly under construction since 1994 when the first foundation was laid in Tatarka district atop Shchekavitsya hill.
The first attempts to build a mosque in Kiev were at the end of 19th century and at the beginning of 20th. However two World wars and the October revolution in 1917 completely impeded progress. The next attempt to build a mosque was made only in 1991. Before that Muslims were forced to hold mass gatherings in apartments, libraries, and sports complexes.
Imam Khamis El Mejri was arrested for preaching in a mosque without a government permit.
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