Helsinki’s decision-makers may have to decide as early as this spring whether or not to give a green light to a project to build a grand mosque in the city.
An application to reserve a land plot for the large mosque has already been submitted to the Land Division of the City of Helsinki Real Estate Department, reveals Sami Haapanen, the head of the Land Division.
Haapanen tells that the central administration will be asked to inquire, for example, into the sources of funding for the project. Bahraini royals have reportedly offered to contribute towards the costs of the construction project.
“[The inquiry] will deal with a number of issues: not only the issue of funding, but we’ll also lend an ear to the Ministry of Education and Culture, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and so on,” he says.
“Then there are some major questions about how the project will affect the relationship between various Islamic communities,” continues Haapanen.
The Real Estate Department, he says, will examine the findings of the inquiry before presenting its proposal for either granting or rejecting the application to the Helsinki City Board. If the City Board then votes in favour of granting the reservation, the city plan will have to be revised before the construction can begin.
“That, in turn, falls under the purview of the City Council,” says Haapanen.
The Real Estate Department may be able to make its decision on the project by the end of the current council term, he gauges.
The application is for constructing a building complex of a maximum of 18,000 square metres on the plot of the Hanasaari Power Plant, following the planned closure of the coal-fired co-generation plant in 2024. The building complex would not only include a 3,000 square metre mosque but also a culture and activity centre.
Haapanen reveals that the project co-ordinators have also stated their interest in erecting a minaret on the plot.
“It wouldn’t necessarily have to be a traditional minaret. It could also be something else. It could be something that uses light signals,” he says, adding that the minaret is not a threshold issue for the applicants.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi