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Iceland Muslim Association Unaware of Saudi Funding

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Iceland Muslim Association Unaware of Saudi Funding

Ibrahim Sverrir Agnarsson, chair of the Association of Muslims in Iceland.

Ibrahim Sverrir Agnarsson on the lot where the new mosque will be built. Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

Chair of the Association of Muslims in Iceland Ibrahim Sverrir Agnarsson stated that he had not heard of the USD 1 million (ISK 135.5 million) donation from the government of Saudi Arabia for the building of the association’s mosque in Reykjavík until contacted by RÚV’s journalists yesterday evening.

“Late last year I heard that they were donating the same amount to the other association, the Islamic Cultural Center of Iceland. We tried to explain that we were the ones building the mosque and maybe it got through to them. We haven’t been contacted about the funding but I expect that we will,” Sverrir said.

Sverrir stressed that the donation will not be accepted if it comes with any conditions. “It has always been our association’s agenda that we want to control our own policy and how we operate a mosque. If conditions will be made which limit our right to make our own decisions, we won’t accept it.”

When asked whether the association isn’t wary about accepting a donation from a government known for disregarding equality and human rights, Sverrir responded, “I asked the Foreign Ministry if we could accept money from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia and they said ‘yes,’ that there wouldn’t be anything wrong about that. We have followed the rule that if the donator isn’t on a list of terrorists, the Foreign Ministry doesn’t have anything against it.”

Sverrir revealed that according to the Federation of Icelandic Architects its costs between ISK 300-400 to build a mosque. “So it would be almost half-way there. But I’d like to take a moment and see this generous offer first. I don’t know anything about how it will be organized and would be very pleased if they wanted to donate the amount to us. It would be a kickstarter.”

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