Dnipropetrovsk Muslims Have Difficulties With Returning Their Mosque

This is what the Mosque looked like in early XX century
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A conflict over the Mosque building (3 Khersons’ka Str) blazed up in the Media recently. It’s been over 20 years since the local Muslim community started filing applications asking to return the Mosque to the believers. At the same time, Children's and Youth Sports School of Olympic Reserve currently situated in the building is not willing to leave it.

Regional Governor Mr.Ihar Kolomoyskyi promised to return the building to the local community. Dnipropetrovsk Muslims were glad to hear that, but still they don’t want an open conflict with the city administration and deprive the young sportsmen of a place to train. The school has been situated in the building for many years by now.

“We have repeatedly tried to return the mosque within the framework of Law, but courts of different instances rejected our applications pleading that was the competence of the local authorities. The city authorities, on their part, don’t want any dialogue with us, preferring to bring us up against the kids and their parents,” - Head of Dnipropetrovsk Muslim Community Mr.Ramazan Qurbanov complains. “We are looking forward for negotiations, but we, as well as the city authorities, want the school to have its own building as well. The mosque is our heritage, our ancestors built it, and we have to remember this and honor their memory. It’s been 20 years of waiting already, and we are eager to wait another year in order to give them necessary time to move the school to a new building and solemnly pass the mosque to our community.”

Jews, Orthodox and Lutheran Christians and Catholics got the religious buildings they’ve lost back, and we didn’t! The mosque, as all the other religious buildings at that time, was taken away from the believers in early XX century. They arranged a NKVD leisure club there at first, and some time later the building was transferred to young sportsmen. Muslims started defending their right to get their mosque back after President Kuchma signed the Law on returning the religious buildings to the religious communities.

“We’ve always defended our rights and asked to restore the historic justice in a strictly peaceful and lawful manner. No Muslim approached the building at 3 Khersons’ka Str. up to present. We don’t arrange meetings and other events in order to avoid public conflicts. We believe that this problem has to be solved in a strictly civilized manner,” - Mr. Qurbanov assures.

The Parents Are Scared By The Governor’s Declarations
Members of Muslim community, of course, were happy to hear that the building will be returned to their possession, and is willing to rebuild the minaret and restore the building so it would regain the proper look. Dnipropetrovsk Muslim community uniters over 70,000 Muslims, all of them forced to pray in the rented rooms.

“We don’t do and pray in the streets, as other people in the city won’t understand this. We appreciate the traditions of the city we live in. Now we rent 3 rooms in Dnipropetrovsk so that our brothers and sisters in faith had a place to pray,” - a local Muslim tells.

Indeed, the Muslim communities took the responsibility for integrating Muslims in Dniproprtrovsk. Representatives of these community even telephone the worried parents of Foreign Muslim students and assure them in their readiness to take care for their children and provide them with assistance when needed.

“Our community is the fourth largest in Dnipropetrovsk, but all all the rest (Including Jews, Orthodox Christians of both Kyiv and Moscow Patriarchate, Luterans and Cathollics) got their religious buildings back, and we didn’t,” - Mr.Pavlo Fedosov, member of “Al-Mustaqbal” social organisation, says.

Having learned about the Governor’s decision to return the mosque to Muslims, parents of young sportsmen got seriously concerned and sent an open letter to all the local Media. It reads that that particular building is the best gym possible and suits for both trainings and holding sports competitions, so it’s wrong to expel the kids from that building.

At the same time, none of the parents came to meet the journalists, and the city administration started looking for another building to move the school to, and wait for the transfer from the regional budget.

Video Report of “Channel 11” (in Ukrainian)
by Ms.Christine Vychristenko
Dnipropetrovsk news

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