From Belgium to Greece and Spain to Germany, 2013 is shaping up to be another banner year for the construction of mosques in Europe, report western media.
In Belgium, work is about to begin on the construction of a mega-mosque in Liège, the third-largest city in the country. The largest mosque in Wallonia (the French-speaking region of Belgium) will be built on an 11,000 m² (118,000 ft²) plot and will consist of a main building with a capacity for 1,000 worshippers, a library, a cafeteria and several shops.
In Germany, Muslims in the northern city of Hamburg are converting the former Kapernaumkirche (Capernaum Church), a cultural heritage site, into a mosque.
In the southern German city of Munich, local politicians are debating where to build a massive mosque complex known as the Center for Islam in Europe-Munich (ZIE-M). The 6,000 m² (65,000 ft²) mega-project, which will cost an estimated ˆ 40 million ($ 51 million), is designed to be a key strategic platform for spreading Islam throughout Europe.
In Greece, which is effectively bankrupt, the government has pledged to spend ˆ 1.1 million ($ 1.4 million) to build an official mosque in Athens for the city's expanding Muslim population.
The mosque, which will be built on the former naval base in Votanikos, will be able to hold around 500 worshipers as well as hundreds more in an outdoor area.
In Ireland, city planners in Dublin have given the go-ahead for the construction of a sprawling mega-mosque complex that will cater to Ireland's growing Muslim population. The massive ˆ 40 million ($ 50 million) Islamic Cultural Center will be built on a six-acre site in Clongriffin, a new and as yet unfinished suburb at the northern edge of Dublin. It will compete with another mosque complex in the southern suburb of Clonskeagh a sprawling four-acre campus.
In Luxembourg, a Muslim group Le Juste Milieu (LJM) is engaged in a fund-raising drive to collect ˆ 1.8 million ($ 2.3 million) to purchase the ground floor of a building that currently houses a makeshift mosque in downtown Luxembourg City.
In Scotland, St. John's Episcopal Church in Aberdeen has become the first church in the United Kingdom to share its premises with Muslim worshipers. The church now welcomes hundreds of Muslims praying five times a day in their building because the nearby mosque was so small that worshipers were forced to pray outside.
In Spain, Muslims inaugurated a new mosque on March 21 in the northern Basque town of Portugalete.
The Basque Country is home to more than 50,000 Muslims, 70 Muslim groups, two dozen officially licensed mosques and hundreds of unofficial Islamic prayer rooms and cultural centers. Muslims in the Basque region, who hail mostly from Algeria, Morocco, Pakistan and sub-Saharan Africa, have become increasingly assertive in recent years.
Residents of the Basque city of Bilbao are finding their mailboxes stuffed with flyers in Spanish and Arabic from the Islamic Community of Bilbao asking for money to build a 650 m² (7,000 ft²) mosque costing ˆ 550,000 ($ 735,000).
Until recently, the Islamic Community of Bilbao had the following statement posted on its website: "We were expelled [from Spain] in 1609, really not that long ago. ... The echo of Al-Andalus still resonates in all the valley of the Ebro [Spain]. We are back to stay, Insha'Allah [if Allah wills it]."
The 1,500 m² (16,000 ft²) Baitur-Rahman Mosque, with a capacity for 600 worshippers, adds to the 172 mosques already located in the Valencia region.
In the Catalan municipality of Salt, a town near Barcelona where Muslim immigrants now make up 40% of the population, work has begun on the construction of a two-story Salafi mega-mosque -- built by two Spain-based Salafist groups.
In Switzerland, a Muslim group Club Paradise is converting a bowling alley into a mosque.
Department of Monitoring