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Mosque Controversies in Europe (and Lessons Learned From the American Experience)
by Engy Abdelkader
According to a 2012 research study conducted by Pew, Muslims are the second largest religious group in Europe, constituting approximately 5.9 percent of the population. Their growing presence, attributed to an influx of migration from Muslim-majority societies, has been met by increased government restrictions on and related social hostilities related to religion or belief. This post examines the conflict surrounding mosque construction projects.
By way of background, many Muslims view mosques as a divine house of worship reserved for spiritual reflection and prayer akin to a Christian church, Jewish synagogue, Buddhist temple or Hindu mandir.
In some communities, a mosque is a place of social, cultural and economic significance, too. Members may go to there to celebrate weddings or births, contribute to a charitable event, participate in interfaith dialogues and sell ethnic garb or goods.
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