Islamic Cultural Center opened in Lviv
On Friday, June 5, a solemn opening of the first Islamic Cultural Center was held in Lviv. Now the Muslim community of Lviv, which comprises three thousand people, will be able to pray together, celebrate holidays, communicate and learn – here a Mosque, spacious audiences and a libraryhave been arranged. This is the ninth ICCin Ukraine, and it will be named after Lviv native Muhammad Asad (Leopold Weiss).
The opening ceremony of the Islamic Cultural Center was attended by Muslims both from the city and from other cities. The colleagues of ICC Imam Murat Suleymanov came to congratulate him: Mufti of the SDMU “Ummah” Said Ismagilov and imams from Kharkiv (Yevhen Glushchenko), Sumy (Rustam Khusnutdinov), Zaporizhia (Mamutov Muhammad), Dnipropetrivsk (Edgar Devlikamov). In addition, the chairmanof Alraid, Bassil Mareei arrived together with his deputy Seyran Aryfovym, Deputy Mayor of Lviv on religious issues Taras Dzyubanskyy, Deputy Head of Lviv Regional State Administration Yuriy Pidlisny, rector of the Ukrainian Catholic University Myroslav Marynovych, priests of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and various Protestant denominations.
Ombudsman of Crimean Tatars under the President of Ukraine Mustafa Dzhemilev and Chairman of Majlis Refat Chubarov sent a congratulatory letter to the Muslims of Lviv, to the initiator and organizer of the opening – the Spiritual Directorate of Muslims of Ukraine “Ummah”, “Alraid” and the local religious community “Al-Nebras.”“We were touched when they learned that the Crimean Tatars in Ukraine were welcomed as dear people and were shown the best hospitality,” wrote the leader of the Crimean Tatars and expressed hope that Ukraine will soon regain control over the Crimea and they will have an opportunity to thank Lviv citizens, inviting them to the homes of the Crimean Tatars, showing them the best hospitality in the land of our ancestors.”
Director of the Department for Religions and Nationalities of Ukraine Andriy Yurash also sent his greetings in which he states: “We believe that the Islamic Cultural Center of Lviv named after Muhammad Asad will be the center where everyone could get acquainted with the cultural heritage of Islamic civilization, touch its sacred symbols: language and religion. We hope that its activity will promote cooperation between different religious organizations in Western Ukraine and strengthening tolerance in one of the most tolerant cities in Ukraine - Lviv.”
Mufti of the Spiritual Directorate of Muslims of Ukraine, Sheikh Said Ismagilov noted in his speech on the opening of the ICC: “When we planned the opening of this center, it did not take us long to think of the person to name the center after. This outstanding man, Muhammad Asad, is very famous in many Muslim countries in Europe, but unfortunately, in his hometown and in his native Ukraine he is not very well known. We thought it was unfair and decided to name this Islamic cultural center in such a large European city as Lviv after him.
Deputy Chairman of the Ukrainian Association of Social Organizations “Alraid” Seyran Aryfov noted:“I was surprised and impressed that organizations of different faiths and religions are present in this street. It is very symbolic. I hope that this cultural center will be not only a place for religious life of Muslims, but also a bridge for cultural dialogue between people of different faiths and nationalities.”
Vice-Rector of the Ukrainian Catholic University Myroslav Marynovych said that he was very pleased to attend this celebration of true spiritual freedom: “My dissidentsoul rejoices. I hope that the ICC will be a new school of spiritual growth in freedom for everyone.
This phrase belongs to renowned Lubomyr Husar, and I sincerely wish all of us so that this center became a school of spiritual growth in freedom for the Muslim community of the city, which will have the opportunity to advance in their religion, and at the same time grow as an integral part of Lviv’s community; and for all of us, it is extremely important that the spiritual centers are not simply tolerated, but are held inhigh respect and build our cooperation based on these centers.”
Representative of Christian clergy,who attended the celebration, noted that the opening of the Islamic Cultural Center on the same street with several Christian centers was a very good opportunity to combine their efforts to improve the standard of living and spirituality of this inconspicuous part of the city, give it a new impetus for prosperity. It is important that each religious community had its center, because it allows one to grow spiritually and have constant communication with God.
During the opening ceremony, there were also a presentation of the translation of the meanings of the Quran into Ukrainian, edited by Ukrainian scientist MykhailoYakubovych and the opening of a memorial plaque dedicated to Muhammad Asad.
Following the opening ceremony, the juma namaz prayer was conducted, and Mufti of the Spiritual Directorate of Muslims of Ukraine “Ummah”, Sheikh Said Ismagilov said a sermon.
NOTE: Leopold Weiss, known worldwide as Muhammad Asad, was born in 1900 into a Jewish family that lived in Kokhanovskyy street in Lviv (now Levitskystreet). His grandfather was a rabbi from Chernivtsi. However, he chose Islamfor himself and was not only an outstanding journalist, public and political figure, a man who made an important contribution to the development of religious and philosophical thought, but also a famous researcher, the scientist who translated Quran into English.