Ljubljana: As one of the most beautifully designed Islamic centers in Europe, the Slovenian Islamic Center in Ljubljana stands testament to spreading Islamic values and promoting moderate principles.
The Amir HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani and President of Slovenia HE Borut Pahor's inauguration of the center 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 centers 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 center 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 center Harris Mortajek said that Work on the mosque began in 2008, when its design was chosen from among 44 other designs, noting that Qatar contributed 28 million euros to build this center out of 35 million euros, and the rest was donated by the people of Slovenia, and with this assistance provided by Qatar, the center became a reality on the ground.
He told Qatar News Agency (QNA) that, in addition to holding regular prayers at the Islamic center, the center provides educational and recreational services for children, with about 700 children participate in the activities offered by the center during the weekends, and many school students come to visit the center and learn about Islam. He added that the center also provides educational services for adults, and works to present Islam to people in Slovenia, where many people come to see this wonderful center, 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 center in Ljubljana is considered one of the most beautiful Islamic centers 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 center consists of a two-storey mosque that can accommodate about 1,000 worshipers, a two-storey ablution building, accommodating about 50 people, in addition to a 3-storey administrative building that includes offices and a meeting hall. The center also includes an educational building of 3 floors that can accommodate more than 240 students and 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 theater that can also accommodate more than 200 people.
In its social dimension, the center 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.
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 many European countries. He added to QNA that 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 center opened all its services for Muslims at the beginning of 2020, and despite the circumstances and procedures imposed by the Corona virus, he was surprised by the large numbers that came for every prayer, especially Friday prayers, which means that the center affected the lives of Muslims and made them better. He thanked HH 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 center on showing Islam in its true form, he said that the center contributed to a large extent in showing the true form of Islam in Slovenia, which did not include any Islamic cultural center 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 percent of the total population of the country. The Muslim population in Slovenia consists mainly of Bosniaks (who make up 73.64 percent of Slovenian Muslims), and Albanians (who constitute 11.03 percent of the country's Muslims). With small percentages of ethnic Slovenian, Roma, Macedonian and others.
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