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The Växjö Mosque is awaiting funding to start construction

There is a plan to build a mosque with an area of one thousand meters since 1988 when it established the first mosque for Muslims in the city of Växjö.
Växjö • Publicerad 7 juli 2020

– The plan indicates that this will be the grand mosque in the region, which will include all Muslims with different affiliations, says Ismail Abu Helal.

The founder of the Växjö's Mosque and the owner of the idea of establishing an Islamic school is Ismail Abu Helal, who came from Egypt to Sweden in 1975. Ismail graduated from a department at the University of Gothenburg. He worked as a civil engineer. He also worked as a teacher at the University of Växjö in addition to his work as a teacher in secondary schools in Växjö as well. He taught mathematics, computer science and physics. He is currently working as a supervisor in the Islamic school after he retired from the school’s administration, as well as Imam for Växjö's Mosque.


– The idea of building the mosque has been around for a long time. The planning is only ready, and we are awaiting funding. We do not have enough money to build the mosque. Muslims are diligent in donating money through taxs. Where it is deducted about 7 kronas per thousand Depending on the desire of the donor, these sums go in favor of financing the construction of the mosque. But by virtue of the fact that the construction is costly in Sweden and these are small amounts and we need to wait a longer time in order to collect the money. Thus, we hope that many people donate to build the mosque, says Ismail Abu Helal.

Are there entities that can finance the construction of the mosque?

– We are preparing the plan and budget as requested by some foreign embassies, like the Kuwaiti embassy, there could be support.

What is the reason for some parties' reluctance to support?

– Fear of supporting terrorism. Moving money from one place to another is no longer easy. Also, the issue of terrorism has become linked to Muslims, even at the level of films, and this offends us, of course. Therefore, we have a permit from the municipality stating that it does not preclude getting support.

How did the concerned authorities deal with the issue of licensing?

– We got the license twenty years ago, and there was great cooperation from the concerned authorities, especially at the time of the ruling Social Democratic Party. Even people from the municipality and from many sides went with us to choose the appropriate place to build a mosque. In addition to that, there were conferences and attended by representatives of different religions to answer the questions of citizens. There were also Swedish personalities helped us in answering the questions of citizens. The purpose is to foster coexistence and understanding of others.

In addition to the mosque, there is an Islamic school with 250 children and 50 employees.

– The Islamic school is an ordinary school, like any other school with Islamic profile. This does not mean that Swedish schools are in short supply, but on the contrary, Swedish schools are very good. But the role of the Islamic school is only complementary. This is to enhance the sense of belonging for children and make them understand that their affiliation to a specific religion does not make them less than or different from others. Thus, they maintain their Muslim identity. In this way the child remains a link between society and his or her family. So that there is no significant difference between the child and his family. For example, before the Islamic school, my daughter was studying in the fourth grade and she liked to fast Ramadan as her family did. But she was afraid of telling her friends about this and she was pretending to eat. This directly affects her psychology and her educational achievement as well. But when there is room for expressing yourself and a sense of belonging to your identity, this promotes self-confidence. The criterion is effective participation in building society, the religion is not a criterion. We work to promote inclusion and the concept of coexistence in society. This does not depend on the place or time, but its success depends on both sides, Swedish society and the expatriate.

The Islamic School is funded by the municipality of Växjö, like other schools. where the Swedish curriculum is taught, in addition to that, two Arabic and Islamic subjects are taught as well.

– In addition to the school, we also opened an Islamic nursery. It has about 110 children and 35 employees. We also opened an Islamic nursery in Alvesta, which is the largest in terms of the number of children, as it contains 140 children and 40 employees. The number of children may decrease in the next year.

Maha Nasser
Så här jobbar Mosaik Vxonews med journalistik. Uppgifter som publiceras ska vara korrekta och relevanta. Vi strävar efter förstahandskällor och att vara på plats där det händer. Trovärdighet och opartiskhet är centrala värden för vår nyhetsjournalistik.