8495Islam and Muslims in Montenegro: Montenegro Ancient Mosque Back to Life
- Feb 2, 2008Montenegro Ancient Mosque Back to Life
By Hany Salah, IOL Correspondent
Fri., Feb. 01, 2008
PODGORICA, Montenegro Montenegro's Muslims are
working on rebuilding the Balkans country's oldest
mosque, which was brought down almost eight decades
"Preparations are underway to reconstruct the
Marinareve mosque," Omer Halil Kajshaj, foreign
relations chief at the Islamic Sheikhdom in
Montenegro, told IslamOnline.net.
Built in the resort city of Ulcinj off the Adriatic
Sea, the mosque was established by Muslim Arab sailors
in the fourteenth century.
The ancient mosque was demolished in 1931 by Serbian
authorities at the time to obliterate any Islamic
feature of Ulcinj.
Kajshaj will rebuilt in its original design and
"It is part of the Sheikhdom's efforts to maintain the
Muslim identity at Montenegro," which gained
independence from Serbia in 2006, added the Muslim
He said the Sheikhdom is already building another
grand mosque in the heart of Ulcinj and the first
Muslim secondary school in the capital Podgorica to
meet the growing religious needs of the Muslim
"This mosque will accommodate 1,000 worshippers,"
Had it not been for the incumbent secular government,
these Muslim projects would have not come into being.
"Our relationship with authorities are just perfectly
fine. They gave us the historical land of the Ulcinj
mosque and proved forthcoming in issuing necessary
permits to rebuild it," Kajshaj explained.
There are 26 mosques in Ulcinj, mostly based at the
city's suburbs and villages.
Muslims make up 20 percent of Montenegro's 630,500
Kajshaj appealed to Muslims to donate to rebuild the
Ulcinj mosque as soon as possible.
"Building another mosque in central Ulcinj, the
Sheikhdom cannot alone undertake this mammoth effort,"
The rebuilding is estimated to cost in the region of
"We have opened a bank account and welcome any
donations," added Kajshaj.
Opposition from local businessmen is another challenge
facing the Ulcinj mosque.
"Local businessmen want to build a hotel at the
mosque's site because the area is a picturesque
tourist attraction," said Kajshaj.
"Authorities are standing by us but at least for the
time being and no body knows whether future
governments would throw a spanner in the good work,"
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