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Denmark's first purpose-built mosque opens, bankrolled by Qatar

Published on Jun 19, 2014 9:50 AM

COPENHAGEN (AFP) - Denmark's largest purpose-built mosque, including the country's first minaret, opens on Thursday in Copenhagen's gritty northwest district after receiving a 150 million kroner (S$34.2 million) endowment from Qatar.

The longstanding political influence of the anti-immigrant Danish People's Party (DPP), as well as the row over Prophet Mohammed cartoons that led to deadly protests in Muslim countries, have strained relations between Denmark's largest religious minority and the majority population.

After years of political wrangling and "not in my backyard" protests, Copenhagen's Muslim community is cheering the opening of the 6,700-square-metre complex that will house a mosque, a cultural centre, a television studio and a fitness centre.

But sandwiched between a car dealership and a self storage firm in a low income district, it is not quite the symbol of mainstream acceptance that many of Denmark's 200,000 Muslims had hoped for.

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