My blog indicates from which countries (and cities) individuals are located when visiting. I have noticed more recently that American Bedu blog has been receiving visitors from Iceland. It made me curious about Muslims and Saudis in Iceland.
Obviously there is not a large enough contingent of Saudis in Iceland since the nearest Saudi Embassy which oversees Iceland is the Saudi Embassy in Stockholm.
However, the following articles, (provided by a friend who is originally from Iceland) although a little bit dated, are very interesting in regards to the Muslims in Iceland.
Conflict Between Two Muslim Groups Delaying Mosque Project
Words by Paul Nikolov
The city of Reykjavík has decided that it can only give one plot of land for building a mosque, although two separate Muslim groups want one. The chairman of the Muslim Society of Iceland says the situation is “like asking the national church to be with the Jehovah’s Witnesses”.
Fréttablaðið reported that Anna Kristinsdóttir, the director of human rights for the city, said that there are indeed two separate Muslim groups in Iceland: the Muslim Society of Iceland numbering 373 members, and another group numbering 218. Both groups have asked for their own plot of land on which they intend to build their own mosques.
The response from the city, however, has been that the two groups are too small to each get their own plot, and should therefore share one. “We have of course not asked the two groups to combine into one,” she said in part, “but that they could possibly form an umbrella organisation, under which they can operate separately.”
Karim Askari, the chairman of the latter Muslim group, told Fréttablaðið that he wasn’t against sharing a mosque with the Muslim Society of Iceland. Salmann Tamimi, the society’s chairman, disagrees, pointing out that his group has waited 12 years for a mosque of their own, and that the city is responding as if all Muslims believe the same things and worship in the same way.
“Our application is completely different from theirs,” Salmann said in part. “This is like asking the national church to be with the Jehovah’s Witnesses.”
As neither the city nor the Muslim Society of Iceland do not seem to want to budge on the matter, the issue is deadlocked for the time being.
http://www.islamiccci.com/about-us-in-eglish.php Icelandic Council for Endowment in Iceland
http://www.islam.is/podlinki/english/english.htm Muslim Association of Iceland
The Saudi Embassy for Iceland is in Stockholm. state.gov estimates 800-1000 muslims in Iceland.
“This is like asking the national church to be with the Jehovah’s Witnesses.” I find that comment especially amusing, interjects American Bedu.
New Muslim Organization in Iceland
Words by Paul Nikolov
Sulaiman Abdullah Alshiddi and Hussein Al Daoudi, from Saudi Arabia and Sweden respectively, have established an organization called The Islamic Endowment in Iceland, Vísir (an Ircelandic newspaper) reports.
The purpose of the group is twofold. On the one hand, to help Muslims in Iceland maintain the characteristics of Islam, and to help Muslim children hold onto their faith and traditions. On the other hand, the group also wants to encourage Muslims in Iceland to learn both Arabic and Icelandic. They also want to teach Muslims Iceland’s laws and societal mores, their rights and responsibilities, and to get Icelanders better acquainted with what Muslims believe.
Salmann Tamimi, the chairman of the Muslim Society of Iceland, told Vísir that the group has not been in contact with him yet, but that he does know they have branches in Sweden, where they engage in charity and educational work. “Hopefully this new group can help us get a mosque in Iceland,” he added.
There are about 600 registered members of the Muslim Society of Iceland, who have been waiting about 11 years for approval for a plot of land to build a mosque in Reykjavík from city council. That approval is still pending.