Aarhus, Denmark – Muslims living in one of Denmark’s most deprived housing projects say they are being marginalised and made to feel unwelcome in their own community amid fears that their 14-year fight for a mosque could be derailed by political wrangling over an ambitious regeneration plan for the area.
Residents in Gellerup, a suburb of Aarhus, Denmark’s second city, have been campaigning since 2000 for the right to build a mosque in their neighbourhood. They say it would serve not only the needs of a growing Muslim population but also as a “beacon of hope”, a bulwark against extremism and a symbol of their acceptance as Danish citizens.
But their aspirations have been repeatedly stalled by political opposition to the project. Now those behind the latest proposal say that promises made by politicians and city officials that a fresh application to buy land for a mosque would be treated favourably have been broken following objections by right-wing parties on the local council.