As one of the most beautifully-designed Islamic centres in Europe, the Slovenian Islamic Centre in Ljubljana stands testament to spreading Islamic values and promoting moderate principles.
H.H. the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani and H.E. President of the Republic of Slovenia Borut Pahor's inauguration of the centre today will be a memory stuck in the minds of Slovenia's Muslim community, with Qatar's donation instrumental in building it, to become one of the most important Islamic cultural centres in the region given its services.
The opening of the mosque came after nearly a century of Muslim presence in the country, and 50 years after submitting a request to the local authorities for permission to build a house of worship and a cultural centre that represents a symbol of their identity and a bridge to communicate with the younger generations and a step to enhance their integration in the country that was one of the former Yugoslav republics.
Director of the centre Harris Mortajek said that Work on the mosque began in 2008, when its design was chosen from among 44 other designs, noting that the State of Qatar contributed 28 million euros to build this centre out of 35 million Euros, and the rest was donated by the people of Slovenia, and with this assistance provided by Qatar, the centre became a reality on the ground.
As per Qatar News Agency, in addition to holding regular prayers at the Islamic centre, the centre provides educational and recreational services for children, with about 700 children participating in the activities offered by the centre during the weekends, and many school students come to visit the centre and learn about Islam. He added that the centre also provides educational services for adults, and works to present Islam to people in Slovenia, where many people come to see this wonderful centre, as many people attend to see how Muslims live their lives in the mosque, especially since it is the only one in Slovenia.
The Islamic cultural centre in Ljubljana is considered one of the most beautiful Islamic centres in Europe. It consists of six buildings on a land area of (15,000) square meters, and a building area of up to (12,000) square meters. The centre consists of a two-storey mosque that can accommodate about 1,000 worshipers (750 men and 250 women), a two-story ablution building, accommodating about 50 people, adding to a 3-storey administrative building that includes offices and a meeting hall. The centre also includes an educational building of (3 floors) that can accommodate more than 240 students, a residential building of (4 floors) with nurseries for children and several apartments of different sizes that can accommodate approximately 80 people, in addition to some additional attached buildings (including a restaurant that can accommodate about 100 people). And parking lots for 108 cars, a gym equipped with the latest equipment, with a capacity of up to 200 people, and a theatre that can also accommodate more than 200 people.
In its social dimension, the centre represents a civilized and cultural bridge for acquaintance and rapprochement between all spectrums of Slovenian and European society, a living model of mutual respect, dialogue, cooperation and brotherhood among citizens of European countries, and a springboard for more peaceful coexistence enjoyed by generations.
The Imam of the mosque said the history of the mosque goes back more than 50 years, but it was a small mosque for prayer only, and the State of Qatar wanted to do something for Muslims in Slovenia, so it donated nearly 28 million Euros to establish this great edifice whose role does not stop at serving Islam and Muslims in Slovenia only but in A number of European countries. He added to QNA that the State of Qatar's donation turned the mosque into an Islamic landmark that provides many educational, recreational and academic services to Muslims residing in Slovenia, pointing out that in the past, the number of worshipers in the mosque did not exceed 200 people, but now the number of worshipers in the Eid prayer has reached nearly 5,000 people. He said the centre opened all its services for Muslims at the beginning of 2020, and despite the circumstances and procedures imposed by the Coronavirus, he was surprised by the large numbers that came in every prayer, especially Friday prayers, which means that the centre affected the lives of Muslims and made them better. He thanked H.H. the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani and the State of Qatar for supporting the mosque, highlighting that it changed the lives of many Muslims in the country. He added that the mosque accommodates more than a thousand people inside, while it accommodates more than three thousand others in its wonderfully designed courtyards, pointing out that there is a prayer room for women.
On the impact of the centre on showing Islam in its true form, he said that the centre contributed to a large extent in showing the true form of Islam in Slovenia, which did not include any Islamic cultural centre that expresses the image of Islam, but now things have changed and the image of peace and Muslims have become better.
The number of Muslims in Slovenia is about 88,000 people, who constitute about 3% of the total population of the country. The Muslim population in Slovenia consists mainly of Bosniaks (who make up 73.64% of Slovenian Muslims), and Albanians (who constitute 11.03% of the country's Muslims). With small percentages of ethnic Slovenian, Roma, Macedonian and others.
Source and cover image credit: QNA
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