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Islamic Center in Iceland Vandalized

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Islamic Center in Iceland Vandalized

Reykjavík mosque

From the Islamic Cultural Center. Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

The Islamic Cultural Center of Iceland was vandalized on Saturday night, Eyjan reports. Signs and words were painted on the building in five different places. Imam Ahmad Seddeeq tells Eyjan the vandalism was discovered as people came in for morning prayer yesterday morning at 6:30. The incident was reported to the police.

Ahmad told Eyjan that the sabotage may be connected to President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson’s words over the weekend. The president said in a radio interview with RÚV that he had been surprised when Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Iceland, who is based in Stockholm, told him, at a meeting at Bessastaðir presidential residence in March, of plans by Saudi Arabian authorities to support the construction of a mosque in Iceland with a financial contribution of ISK 130 million (USD 980,000, EUR 920,000). The reported plans caused heated debate in Iceland when they were first reported earlier this year.

Ahmad stated in an interview yesterday that the Islamic Cultural Center has no connection to those funds, has not received them and never will. He maintains that he has sensed increased prejudice toward Muslims in Iceland, especially since the Paris attacks.

Yesterday, DV reported that a Muslim woman in Reykjavík had run into trouble when looking for an apartment to rent. The landlady sent her a text message asking if she was a Muslim. When she said she was, the landlady sent her a message back: “I don’t rent muslims, PAR’IS.”

The prospective tenant is a Palestinian mother of two, who came to Iceland as a refugee. She told Stöð 2 television station that she tried to explain to the landlady that she’s not a terrorist, but came to Iceland to provide her boys with a decent life.

She told Stöð 2, “If everyone is like this woman and won’t rent an apartment to me, then I’ll end up on the street with my boys. If religion and the fact whether you’re a Muslim or not determines whether you can live in Iceland, then that’s a problem.”

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