The Islamic Society in Denmark has begun to accept donations for the construction of a third mega-mosque in Copenhagen.
The project is expected to cost 80 million kroner, and while organization spokesman was not willing to disclose how close the group has come to reaching that funding target, he did tell Berlingske that “we are well on our way”.
The majority of the funding is expected to be donated by members of the Islamic Society and other Danish Muslims. Shah felt certain that the funds would be raised in time to commence construction of the mosque in 2017 or 2018.
“We accept all donations, provided there are no strings attached,” Shah told Berlingske.
“Our firm condition is that we will never compromise our independence. Therefore we also welcome foreign donations, as long as they do not come with conditions, meaning that it will not matter if the funding comes from within Denmark or abroad,” he added.
Another recently constructed mosque in Copenhagen was funded by the former emir of Qatar, which sparked fears that the Muslim Brotherhood – through Qatar – would be in a position to influence the imams in the mosque.
The new mosque will not have minarets, as it is intended to “combine Nordic architectural traditions with Islamic ones,” according to Shah.
“We will thereby be sending a signal to our younger generations that we are a part of a Danish identity, while signalling to our older generations that we also have an Islamic identity,” he said, adding that the mosque will send a signal to the Danes that Muslims “are here to stay".
Reactions among members of Copenhagen's city council have been mixed.
“One thing we have to accept is that whether one likes it or not, Copenhagen is a multi-ethnic city […] We have an Orthodox church and a synagogue and there should also be room for one or more mosques,” Liberal Alliance municipal council member Lars Berg Dueholm told Berlingske.
Fellow council member Carl Christian Ebbesen from the Danish People's Party disagreed, but noted that all he was able to do was speak against it.
“There are already enough mega-mosques in Copenhagen. These massive eye-catching constructions that sort of symbolize that Islam is present here is not something we need any more of,” he told Berlingske.
The mosque will be designed by Henning Larsen Architects and located in Copenhagen's Nordvest district. It will also serve as a community centre. More about the project can be seen on the architects' website.