Slovenia Opened its First Mosque

The first mosque in Slovenia was opened in the country's capital Ljubljana, AFP reported. This happened after overcoming a number of financial obstacles and defeating right-wing opposition parties, 50 years after the request for its construction was officialy made.

Opponents of the project - including those who criticize its Qatari funding - have repeatedly tried to stop it.

Islamic community head Mufti Nedzad Grabus said the mosque's opening was "a turning point in our lives."

"Slovenia is the last former Yugoslav state to get a mosque, making Ljubljana a capital rather than a provincial town on the edge of the world," he told a press conference.

Located in the semi-industrial area of Ljubljana, the mosque, which can seat up to 1,400 people, is the heart of an Islamic cultural center. It houses community offices; educational center with library; restaurant; basketball playground; housing for the Muslim clergy; and a 40-meter minaret.

All the buildings in the center are made of white concrete combined with steel, glass and wood. A large blue dome rises inside the mosque, reaching as far as the sky and resembling famous mosques such as the Istanbul Blue Mosque.

So far, Muslims - who make up 2.5% of the country's population of 2 million people and the second largest religious group by census in 2002 - have held ceremonies in rented sports halls or other buildings

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