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Green light for new mosque in Enschede after 15-year dispute

The Selimiye Mosque Foundation (Stichting Selimiye Moskee) and the Islamic Foundation of the Netherlands (ISN) have been granted permission to construct a new mosque in the municipality of Enschede, Overijssel. On Wednesday, the Council of State dismissed the concerns raised by local residents regarding increased traffic in their neighborhood due to mosque visitors.

This decision marks the end of a 15-year dispute, clearing away the final objections to the establishment of the mosque, which will have a capacity of 625 spaces for prayer. The new mosque is set to replace two old buildings in the center of Enschede on Kuipersdijk on the corner with Alderman Beversstraat.

From the outset, there were several objections to the construction of the mosque. For example, it took years to reach an agreement on the azan, the call to prayer from a mosque. Over the years, the city council of Enschede also changed its mind regarding a new zoning plan. This led the Council of State to intervene, ordering the council to come up with a new resolution. When this new resolution was introduced in 2022, local residents once again appealed to the highest administrative court.

The residents are concerned about potential parking issues when the mosque is at full capacity. However, the Council of State agreed with both the foundations and the municipality that adequate provisions have been made. This is especially true given that it is unlikely all 625 spaces will be occupied simultaneously. Only during Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha might there be congestion around the mosque, but additional parking spaces will be available nearby. Since the Friday afternoon prayer occurs outside of peak hours, the court reasons it is plausible to assume mosque attendance will not result in problematic traffic congestion in the vicinity.

The objectors also anticipate a large influx of German Muslims to Enschede, given its proximity to the border. However, the Council of State pointed out that the mosque has 625 spaces, and it does not matter where the worshippers come from. Concerns about disruptions from Islamic weddings, which can be large events, were also dismissed, given that while wedding ceremonies can take place in the new mosque, wedding receptions are not permitted.

https://nltimes.nl/2023/10/11/green-light-new-mosque-enschede-15-year-dispute Green light for new mosque in Enschede after 15-year dispute

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