News

2019.09.04 12:23

Tatar community distances itself from mosque project in Vilnius

BNS2019.09.04 12:23

Lithuania's Tatar community issued a statement on Wednesday, criticizing the decision to build a mosque in the Vilnius area of Liepkalnis, and has distanced itself from the project backed "by a small number of supporters, mainly foreigners".

Lithuania's oldest muslim community said the project initiator had no backing, and a problematic land plot had been picked for the construction.

"Nobody has given Aleksandras Beganskas the right to personally decide the mosque construction matters in Vilnius. This person, who claims to be the board chairman mufti, the highest ranking Muslim clergyman, of the Council of Muslim Religious Communities in Lithuania – Muftiate – was not elected by the Lithuanian Tatar community and has a small number of supporters, mainly foreigners," the Tatar community said in the statement.

"Muslims who recently came to live in Lithuania can ask for a land plot to build a prayer home, but that should not be mixed with the old community of Lithuania's Muslim Tatars and one should not act on its behalf," the Tatars said.

Mufti Romas Jakubauskas, board chairman of the Spiritual Centre of Sunni Muslims of Lithuania, says Beganskas' land plot in Liepkalnis had been offered to the Tatar community for the same purpose. However, they refused because the land includes a art of an old Mariavite cemetery, and a petrol station is also close to that area.

Lithuania's Tatars have already picked a location in Vilnius, and Jakubauskas says they have already commission architectural studies.

The 15min.lt news website reported earlier that Beganskas hopes to receive 7–8 million euros in funding for the new mosque from Turkey, and probably Saudi Arabia or Qatar

Read more: Vilnius Muslim community to build a mosque

Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius said the new mosque should be built near Lukiškes Square in central Vilnius where it used to be until 1968 when the Soviet demolished it. The Tatar community has backed Šimašius' position.

The majority of Muslims in Lithuania are Tatars who are Sunni Muslims. Some 3,000 Tatars live in Lithuania, based on the 2011 census figures.

Mums svarbus tikslumas ir sklandi tekstų kalba. Jei pastebėjote klaidų, praneškite portalas@lrt.lt