House purchased for private Reykjavik mosque

Wealthy foreigners have bought a house in Reykjavik and intend to turn it into a mosque. The chairman of the Icelandic Muslim Association says he has nothing to do with the investors and has reported the men to the police, saying he fears they may be extremists trying to gain a foothold in Iceland.

The house is in the Skogahlid area of the city and is earmarked to become a mosque and Muslim community centre. The purchase of the house was backed by wealthy individuals from overseas.

Salmann Tamimi, chairman of the Association of Muslims in Iceland, says that the group has nothing to do with his organisation. He has been waiting years for the City of Reykjavik to grant the Islamic faith a plot of land to build a mosque. Even so, he says that the potential new private mosque is not the answer. The experience of other countries teaches that it is wise to reject large foreign investments in religion, Tamimi told Such investors are much more likely to import their own countries’ traditions and not adapt to the traditions in their host country.

Tamimi said that he fears the group behind the house purchase, and added that some of the men were thrown out of the official Icelandic Muslim association last year for breaking its rules. He contacted the police to report the men, who he says misunderstand the principal tenets of Islam and threaten the peaceful lives of all the Muslims who want to live in harmony with others in Iceland, regardless of their religion.

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