Aarhus blocks plans for grand mosque

The sale of a plot of land for the construction of a grand mosque has been cancelled by Aarhus Municipality.

Aarhus blocks plans for grand mosque
Aarhus will not get a new mosque after all. Photo: Guillaume Baviere/Flickr

The movement to block the sale of the land at Bautavej 1 in the neighbourhood of Gellerup was approved by a majority in the city’s municipal council on Wednesday.

“The Social Democrats have lost confidence in this specific project, because a number of the associations involved in it have been revealed to hold opinions which are incompatible with our democracy and legal system. It was therefore necessary to cancel the proposal,” Aarhus Mayor Jacob Bundsgaard told Jyllands-Posten.

In March of this year, a documentary series by television station TV2 used hidden camera footage to reveal imams at Aarhus’ highly controversial Grimhøj Mosque saying that adulterers should be stoned and that children should be beaten for not praying.

A spokesman from the mosque subsequently accused TV2 of picking selective clips from its footage and not giving a balanced insight into its teachings.

“We cannot believe everything that comes from you. The recording only shows a few seconds rather than hours. Therefore, it is not certain that you did not just collect things to cheat people,” the mosque's chairman, Oussama El-Saadi, told TV2 in March.

Following the airing of the television series, Bundsgaard announced that Aarhus Municipality would be pulling its support for a grand mosque in the area.

Gert Bjerregaard, spokesperson for Venstre, which is in opposition on the Aarhus city council, said that his party supported the cancellation of the plans for the mosque but criticised the Social Democrats for not being clear enough on related issues.

“We still do not know the mayor’s position on the building of a grand mosque in the Gellerup area in the future,” Bjerregaard told Jyllands-Posten. “How long will the suspension last? One, two years, or for ever? We have not been given an answer.”

The Social Liberals (Radikale) and the Red-Green Alliance (Enhedslisten) parties were alone in voting against the cancellation of the building plans.

“We think it’s a shame that the Social Democrats have backed out of something that had previously been confirmed… We believe that a grand mosque would benefit the area,” Peter Hegner Bonfils of Enhedslisten told Jyllands-Posten.