Sumy Islamic Cultural Centre (located at Sumsko-Kyivskykh dyvizii St., 24/2) has become the tenth regional centre of AUASO "Alraid" in Ukraine. Muslims had the important reason to open it before Ramadan. As during this holy month, there is the highest number of those, wishing to pray together. So, on Eid al-Fitr, they will have the place to meet.
For instance, last year, the men hardly got into a tiny rented room (occupied whole internal space, including the passes — up to the front door). Women and children had to celebrate the holiday at home. But things will be different now: in addition to male and female halls of the mosque, there are classrooms, female department (where Muslim women can carry out their activities), social area, kitchen, children's room (with toys and table tennis) and headquarters in the Centre. Now there is more not only the place, but also the opportunities.
For about hundred people, Muslims and non-Muslims came to ICC for sharing the joyous event with the Muslim community of the city. In his speech devoted to the opening of ICC, Oleg Guzik, the Head of Department of Public Relations at "Alraid", thanked all those involved in that significant event:
"Many thanks for city officials and all those who made efforts to open this Centre. I’d like to say that there are such ten Centers in Ukraine. Sumy ICC is anniversary one. We hope that it will become a place where Muslims will be able to improve their cultural and religious life, and non-Muslims — to get acquainted with the history of Islamic culture. We hope that this constructive step will allow us to overcome the barriers which, unfortunately, exist in our society. God grant that each of us, both Muslims and non-Muslims, would feel the benefit of this building. Once again, thank you very much in the name of AUASO "Alraid" management and on behalf of all Muslims of Ukraine!"
The fellow colleagues, the Imams from Dnipro, Zaporizhia and Kharkiv, came to congratulate Rustam Khusnutdynov, Imam of the new Centre. Mufti of RAMU "Umma", Said Ismagilov, also accepted the invitation, and presented the colored sand painting— the Quranic Sura "Al-Ikhlas" ("The Sincerity").
After the national anthem of Ukraine solemnly had been played, Imam Rustam Khusnutdinov opened the meeting by ayah of the Holy Qur'an. He recalled the paramount importance of the mosque: to make us remember about God and His precepts: "And [He revealed] that the masjids are for Allah , so do not invoke with Allah anyone. And that when the Servant of Allah stood up supplicating Him, they almost became about him a compacted mass. Say, [O Muhammad], "I only invoke my Lord and do not associate with Him anyone." (Qur’an 72: 18-20).
In Ukraine, people pay a lot of attention to the issues of good-neighborliness and peaceful coexistence in the respect for the faith and beliefs of citizens. That’s why the Islamic Centers are not simply a place where the Muslim community goes to. Regardless of his religious beliefs, everyone can find there the answers on many questions about religion, culture, history and current situation in the Islamic world. Today, because of the spreading of speculation on the Islamic topics, this center is very important for our country.
Aleksei Usenko, main specialist of the Department of Domestic Policy and Liudmyla Chernysh, main specialist of the Department of Culture and Tourism Affaires of Sumy Regional State Administration told about that issue. Mykola Bozhko, director of the Department of International Education of Sumy State University, supported them by informing that only at Sumy university studied more than 1,300 international students from over 50 countries. So, the opening of the ICC is an urgent need:
"I hope that the cooperation with the centre will enhance the friendship between the representatives of different countries, as well as will contribute to mutual understanding."
And, of course, the Muslims did not forget to thank the company-contractor represented by Viktor Emelianenko, who noted, in his turn, that they had never had a misunderstanding with the management of the Muslim community, and they always found a common language.
"We hope that visitors will feel themselves comfortable and cozy here and (Muslims – Ed.) will develop their activities. I would like this centre to be useful not only to Muslims, but to all citizens. We wish you success and further development of good, warm, good-neighbour relations", - said he.
Imam of newly opened ICC, Rustam Khusnutdynov, made the excursion of all rooms of the Centre for those who wanted. The guests were also invited to lunch and tea, coffee with sweets — they enjoyed the communication and got acquainted with the works by photographer Anna Korbut, whose exhibition "Faces of Islam" were displayed at the ICC. And, of course, Muslims listened to the first Friday sermon and prayed in the new mosque for the first time.