Mosque Without A Minaret Or Yet Another Idiotism By Certain Blockeahds

As you know, the city of Ljubljana is one of the few (if not only) European capital with a substantial Muslim community and without a mosque. Curiously enough, this is not a result of some post-9/11 anti-Muslim pogrom, but rather a result of thirty years of systematically blocking Ljubljana Muslims to express their faith in a manner they wish.

Site of the future mosque on Paroma and Kuriliniška streets in Ljubljana (source)

Naturally in socialism religion was not exactly encouraged, but in a predominantly Catholic enviroment the Communist party tolerated the Church as long as it toed the line. Not so for Muslims (mostly Bosnian and Kosovo Muslims) who came to Slovenia in mid 60s as the economic expansion of the republic began. Things were not getting any better after 1990, when the Catholic church made a comeback, whereas other religions maintained status quo. For Orthodox Chistians and Protestants that meant that they could continue in their churches as long as they toed the line and recognised the unofficial priviliged status of the Catholic Church, wheras the Muslims were still left without a mosque.

All this changed in 2005, when then-mayor Danica Simšič decided to correct the decade-old wrong and pushed its fragile coalition to allocate a piece of land on the outskirts of Ljubljana for a future mosque which was to be funded and built by the Slovenian Muslim Community. (slightly OT: this was one of the highlights of otherwise disastrous Simšič mayorship).

Enter Mihael Jarc (the blockhead), the sole councilor of the List For Clean Drinking Water (go figure!), who was elected to city council by some wierd coincidence and has done about as much for clean drinking water in Ljubljana as Pamela Andersson has done for the Icelandic fishing industry. Next to nothing. However, Mr. Jarc did take it upon himself to defend Ljubljana from the Muslims whom he saw as a reincarnation of 16th century Turks and their invasion of the Balkans and the Central Europe. He became a firebrand preacher against construction of the mosque, blabbering about how the Muslims (if they have to be here) should be confined to their places of prayes or embrace the local culture and went on to say that “the enemy of the cross is the enemy of Slovenes”. He even made it to the BBC! Mihael Jarc and his nationalistic and religious bigotous fundamentalism struck a worryingly resounding chord with a number of Ljubljanchans which allowed him to collect some 11.000 signatures which called for a referendum on construction of the mosque.

At which point mayor Danica Simšič entered a short-but-glorious period of her otherwise hopelessly beleagured mayorship. She fought back and refused to call a referendum. The question nearly drove appart the already fragile centre-left coalition (which ultimate failed for other reasons), but the mayor stood firm despite protest (she was publicly called a bitch among other things) and populist onslaught which included Jarc reading from the Bible at 2 A.M. during his debate in an extremely long session of the City Council. Mayor Simšič asked the Constitutional Court to rule on the referendum beforehand and after a lengthy deliberation it found that although the question for technically about whether the land should be sold to the Muslim community (not a word about the mosque) it was ultimately aimed at preventing a religious group from practising its faith and was therefore unconstitutional.

Thus political obstacles to building the mosque were cleared after thirty-odd years. Or were they? Between 2005 and today the location of the future mosque was changed. It was – in my opinion correctly – moved from the outskirts of Ljubljana close to the city centre. The idea originally came from the legendary city councilor and fellow blogger Miha Jazbinšek (Green Party) and was adopted by mayor Zoran Janković after he replaced Danica Simšič. And almost two years after Janković took office some 10.000 sq metres of land in the vicinity of Ljubljana Railway station were sold to Muslim community for 4.5 million euros. If it were up to me I’d give the land away for free as mayor Simšič intended, but mayor Janković insisted that under the new administration no piece of land will be give awas for free to anyone.

Last week the city council passed a decree which allows for actual construction of the mosque and sets the height of the object at 12 metres metres maximum and the height of the minaret at 40 metres maximum. At which point the blockhead Jarc re-emerged and now wants the mosque to be built without the minaret saying that minaret makes the whole building too high. Of course Jarc conveniently forgets that there are skyscrapers (existing or planned) in the vicinty which dwarf the height of the minaret by a large margin. But most of all, demanding a mosque without a minaret is like demanding a catholic church without a tower. A minaret is an integral part of any mosque and preventing Muslims from building one in (in my opinion) even more insulting than preventing them from building a mosque in the first place.

Since he (Allah be praised!) has almost no power in the city council and is repeatedly misusing those he does have (during his rhetorical escapades his microphone is often cut off by mayor Janković for abusive language), Mihael Jarc is playing referendum games yet again. This time around he want so call the referendum on the minaret issue. Days ago he collected 100 signatures on his referendum petition thus obliging mayor Janković to declare a 40-60 day period in which Jarc must collect signatures of 5% of Ljubljana electorate (some 11.000 signatures) for referendum to be called.

While mayor Janković has more or less publicly stated that he will try to prevent the reherendum and even ask the constitutional court to judge on the constitutionality of the referendum question, it is entirely possible that this time around Jarc will get a referendum he so badly craves, because technically he is disputing the wording of the decree and not the construction of the mosque itself.

Hopefully, however, the Constitutional Court will show as much wisdom as the last time around and will see through Jarc’s little charade.

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Agent provocateur and an occasional scribe.

16 thoughts on “Mosque Without A Minaret Or Yet Another Idiotism By Certain Blockeahds”

  1. I am glad to hear this project is still on the table and viable. I was just talking to a friend the other day about how shameful it is that the mosque wasn’t already there.

  2. Jarc strikes me as the type of person who, if all else will have failed (and all will, I’m sure) would take an airplane and let someone else (of course he’s not going to himself; as he’s ‘too important to the cause’) fly it into the finished minaret to prove his – pointless – point. In other words : another zealot freak which any religion or political ideology can do without…

  3. I thought that after Dimitrij’s stuff the theory of a God (or at least a benevolent one) was sufficiently disproven. Therefore I don’t think building a mosque/church is needed anymore.

  4. @Pris: oil prices are going down, though 😉

    @Dr. ARF: My esteemed friend, I think you’re mistaken. He strikes me as the sort of person who doesn’t really have any emotional response on the subject whatsoever, but is willing to make use of any issue capable of stirring people’s emotions and inherent prejudice just enough not to forget him and to elect him one more time.

  5. @ Dr. Fil. : My esteemed colleague and friend, you have a point. After all, you – as most people here – have a close insight into those that make up the political landscape, while I am – for now – still a foreigner. I think it’s just my wariness speaking when I made the example, because people like that can stir other people’s emotions to the point where someone actually commits an act of gross stupidity because their emotions get the better of them, especially where religion is concerned.

  6. @dr. Arf: Actually, I think it’s the other way around. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to find out that Jarc is a practicing Muslim or at least of Muslim descent. Think Jörg Haider and his anti-gay agenda…

  7. “I am glad to hear this project is still on the table and viable. I was just talking to a friend the other day about how shameful it is that the mosque wasn’t already there”

    Are you completely oblivous as to the situation in the rest of Europe? Does it look as if Islam and Europe are compatible?

    I don’t want a Madrid Train Bombing or London Subway bombings to occur in Slovenia. Or for the Slovenian flag to be burned and death threats hurled because some cartoonist drew a picture of Mohammed the wrong way. And most of all, I don’t want a Slovenia with No go zones for Slovenians as is the case in many parts of France and Germany.

  8. Yes, I said shameful.
    I do not share your sense of some universal entitlement that pertains only to non-Muslim Slovenians. To attribute any acts of extremist Islamist aggression to the fact that mosques exist in those cities is absurd. Young Muslim men and women don’t become terrorists simply because they attend mosque, as a matter of fact sometimes these young people were not even particularly religious before they took up with those cells. If you are trying to put together some simple equation of Mosque + Muslims = Terror then you better go elsewhere because I am not falling for your “new math”.

    As someone mentioned on television the other day, what about all the years and years of violence that were perpetuated in the name and with the support of the Catholic Church? I’ve never heard of Islam ever perpetuating the sort of decimation that the Catholic Church supported throughout the Americas and around the rest of the world…and those weren’t even the extremists!!! Give me a break.

  9. Camille: To me, the sad difference is that the things you are mentioning were happening about 500 years ago, not today. 🙁

  10. @Robert: There were “no go” zones in the not-so-distant past. Areas, which one was advised to avoid, because they were frequented by the young of non-Slovenian descent. Areas which even the police avoided because the cops were reluctant to get their ass kicked or worse. One of the areas was – believe it or not – Prešeren square after 9 PM.

    Why were these kids acting the way they were? The answer of course is inclusion/exclusion. As being a Slovenian became a tangible value (so to speak), as most of ethnic Slovenians let the 19-century-style national pride flourish (as in: hey, we’re Slovenians, we’re waaaaay better than those Croatian morons over there), in that particular moment people of different ethnic groups entered a huge identity crisis.

    Namely: they weren’t considered Slovenian. Heck, even the social sciencies fell for it and coined the term Nonslovenian (with a captial N) and it took them years to realize that it was basically racist. Being of non-Slovenian origin, they started identifying with the country of their parents’ origin (usually one of the former Yugoslav republics). But they wouldn’t be accepted there either, as they were consiedered “Slovenian” back there.

    And so they became excluded on both ends and started making trouble. And the problem was only intensified as 200.000 refugees from Bosnia came to Slovenia (10% of total Slovenian population).

    This is just to ilustrate the mechanisms at work in this patricular case.

    I think the answer to your dilemma is – inclusion. Slovenian Muslims are a part of our society. As Catholics, they too have those who only attend prayer on big religious holidays, those who are basically secular, as well as more devout ones. But regardless of their religious tempo, they live and work in Slovenia and most of them also hold Slovenian citizenship.

    But if their Orthodox counterparts can pratice their faith in a manner they see fit, why shouldn’t Slovenian Muslims be entitled to the same right? God (Allah?) knows that they paid big bucks for that particular piece of land.

    Keeping a whole group of people on the fringes of society breeds resentment. Resentment breeds fundamentalism. And fundamentalism breeds fear.

    So far, Slovenian Muslims have little to be afraid of from the majority population, and I think the majority population has absolutely no reason to be afraid of Slovenian Muslims.

    A mosque in Ljubljana will be long-overdue step towards further integration of Muslims into Slovenian society. If nothing else, I honestly hope that Ljubljana will get a decent Čevapdžinica

    @Camille: hear, hear!

    @Sunshine: So? What’s your point? It doesn’t make it any more wrong or right if it happened 500 years ago or if it is happening today.

  11. I must agree with Robert 100%. I do not want any of the things he mentioned happening.

    And I do not think that Islam and Europe are compatible. Islam may have been the most tolerant religion in the Balkans for centuries as far as its attitude toward other religions goes and it may have been present in Bosnia for a length of time without any problems, but I say out with Islam. Out with all religions. Out with the religion whose backward attitude to family planning is indirectly responsible for so many more deaths than the Madrid bombing lead to. Let’s go back to the good old days of mysticism and our own deities! Back to pre-forceful-Christianisation times!

    Imagine no religion…

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