Copenhagen gets first minaret

Denmark's first mosque with a minaret and dome is nearing completion in Copenhagen on the corner of Rovsingsgade and Vingelodden in outer Nørrebro.

The Sunni mosque also has classrooms, a restaurant, a cinema and child-care facilities and when it is completed in the next few months it will be the largest in Scandinavia.

The 6,800 sqm mosque has cost 150 million kroner and has been made possible largely thanks to a private donation from the former emir of Qatar, Hamad bin Khalifa-al-Thani.

According to Danish law the 20-metre-high minaret can not be used to call worshippers to prayer. But there are worries in the city that the mosque will attract radical conservative Islamic elements as the imam who will lead it, Jehad Al-Farra, is associated with the Muslim Brotherhood. However the imam has said that the mosque will be the centre for several Muslim sects and that Friday prayers will be in both Arabic and Danish.

The Danish Islamic Council has plans for four mosques for Copenhagen; on Rovsingsgade, which will now probably be the first to be completed, in Vibevej about two kms away, in Dortheavej and another one on Amager where there were anti-Islamic protests in 2006 against the construction of a mosque.