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RISE OF THE MEGA-MOSQUES

In numerous non-Muslim countries around the world, the construction of immense "mega" mosques is being proposed; in other places, such mosques have already been built.

The proposed mega mosque of Marseille, France, for example, would have a seating capacity of 7,000, which would make it the largest mosque in the country, surpassing the already-existing Ervy mosque, which has 5,000 seats.

Both of these French mega mosques would be dwarfed by a proposed London mosque with 12,000 seats and usability targets as high as 40,000. If the latter is ever built, it will dwarf even the Mosque of Rome, currently the largest of all the mega mosques of Western Europe.

Another mega mosque has been proposed for Murfreesboro, a city in the heart of Tennessee. The Imam of Murfreesboro's existing Islamic Center says the current location is too small for its congregation. Thus he is seeking approval for the construction of a new, larger mosque on a 15.2-acre plot of land that would also have a swimming pool, a gymnasium, an Islamic school, and living quarters for the Imam.

In Germany, the Cologne mega mosque is set to become that nation's largest mosque.

The Stockholm mega mosque, which has featured sermons in support of Islamic terrorism and has served as a recruitment center for Al-Qaeda, was finished in the year 2000 and can accommodate two thousand people. But a decade later there was already a proposal to replace it with an even larger facility.

The proposed "Ground Zero Mosque," to be located near the site of the 9/11 attacks in New York, would (if it is constructed) have a seating capacity of 2,000, and would be vertically taller than most of the mega mosques, with 100,000 square feet of space. For now, the Islamic Center of America, a Shiite mosque located in Dearborn, Michigan, is the largest mega mosque in the United States. Nearby is the Dearborn Mosque, a Sunni entity that, in the spirit of Sunni-Shiite rivalry, claims the same capacity as its neighbor.

Many of the mega mosque projects in the U.S. and other Western nations have followed a particular, predictable pattern: lawsuits, public protests, the exposure of mosque backers with track records of extremism and ethical transgressions, and public officials eager to look the other way.

Moreover, mega mosque projects in the West are commonly funded by foreign Muslim governments. The Marseille mega mosque, for one, falls into this category. The Stockholm mega mosque was financed primarily by Sheikh Zayed, ruler of the United Arab Emirates. In Argentina, a year after the bombing of the Jewish center by Muslim terrorists, President Carlos Menem allotted 7.5 acres of public land to house the King Fahd Islamic Cultural Center, the largest mosque in Latin America, funded by the Saudi royal family. The Caracas mega mosque in Venezuela, which has a capacity of 3,500, was likewise built by the Saudi royal family. And the Cologne mega mosque was chiefly bankrolled by Turkey’s Islamist government.

Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan has said, “The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers.”

In some cases the militarization of the mega mosques is overt. One of the most blatant examples may be the Copenhagen mega mosque, a Shiite facility with a capacity of 3,000, which is being financed by Iran. (Iran has already constructed another mega mosque in Helsinki and has similar plans for additional mosques all across Europe and around the world.) The Imam of the Copenhagen mosque, Mohammed Mahdi Khademi, headed the ideology department of the Revolutionary Guard militia, which is an arm of Iran's theocratic regime and has been designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the United States.

The Sunnis, too, are getting their own Copenhagen mega mosque funded by Saudi Arabia. It will feature an architectural “mountain” topped by two minarets, across from the University of Copenhagen.

It is not only in the West that the mega mosques are rising. In Moscow, Muslims have taken over entire streets to call for the construction of new mosques; the Saudis have already offered to cover the cost.

In China, Saudi money has been transforming mosque designs from the Chinese pagoda, to the dome and minaret favored by their new patrons. The more traditional Chinese look of the Great Mosque of Xi’an is making way for the Xiguan Mosque, a 3,000-capacity mega mosque.

For Muslim states, the mega mosque is a tool of power giving them the ability to centralize control of overseas Muslims with a single facility in a single city.


Adapted from "The Mega Mosques Boom," by Daniel Greenfield (August 3, 2012).

 

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