Simferopol authorities allocate land for central mosque
The Simferopol City Council has allocated to the Spiritual Directorate of Crimean Muslims a land plot for the construction of a central mosque on 22 Yaltynska Street, fulfilling the Crimean Muslims' request. On Tuesday, 71 of 72 deputies voted in support of the decision at the council's session.
The head of the Council of Ministers of the Crimea, Vasyl Dzarty, personally called to support the decision as he stated that the question of allocating the land plot for the mosque "has long been ripe and overripe," Interfax reports.
"For many years, the matter was discussed by politicians, banned, and no one could say why the city authorities, the city council of the previous convocation, was against allocating the land plot for the construction of the mosque," said Dzarty.
The Crimean prime minister reminded that in addition to the Orthodox Ukrainians and Russians, the Crimean Tatars live in the autonomy (approximately 13 percent of the Crimean population), who profess Islam.
According to Dzharty, representatives of all the nationalities have a right to their culture and confession and as the deputies of the city council represent the population of the capital, they should support the decision. "The decision will be crucial for everyone. We should finally settle this nonexistent, by the highest standards, problem," he said.
As was reported earlier, in 2004, the Simferopol City Council endorsed the location of the central mosque at 22 Yaltynska Street. The land plot was allocated to the Spiritual Directorate of Crimean Muslims. Later, however, the decision was anulled by the Simferopol deputies of the new convocation. The illegitimacy of the decisions of the city council, by which the Crimean Muslims were denied permission to construct the central mosque on the land that was previously allocated by the city authorities, was confirmed by court decisions.
Starting January 2008, the Crimean Muslims began a peaceful picket at 22 Yaltynska Street against the actions of the city council deputies and demanding the land for the mosque. Simultaneously, they launched a campaign "One stone for the construction of the central mosque from each resident of Crimea." Crimean representatives of other faiths also supported the campaign. All together, they gathered about 173,000 stones.