mosque of Faro It's not even on paper yet and there are already those who criticize it.

The topic has generated controversy

The sun is setting. It's almost 20pm and another day of work is over. In Bom João, in Faro, dozens of men head to a small store in a building turned into a place of worship. Take kufis (prayer hats), some jelaba (traditional piece of clothing). There are around 70, 80, in a small space. Sometimes hundreds. They want to build a mosque that will allow them to pray, but the idea is generating controversy, to the point of asking for a local referendum to be held. 

on the day the Sul Informação visited the Islamic Center of Faro, on Rua José Pedro de Almeida, Muslims were still in the Ramadan period that ended this Wednesday, April 10th.

On the floor, the table was laid out, with dates, tea or cookies. It was the first meal of the day, after fasting since sunrise.

Ossama Solayman, leader of the Islamic Center of Faro, cannot hide the sadness that the controversy surrounding the idea of ​​building a mosque in the Algarve capital has caused him.

«We are in Faro since 2001. The community has grown 400%, we currently have around 2000 believers and we only have a small space, with few conditions», he says.

The topic came up after a press release sent to newsrooms by the Chega District.





In this document, the political party claims that the Chamber of Faro would give the CIF land for the construction of the mosque, asking for a local referendum to be held.

It's because? Because this is a «fracturing issue», which «was not considered in the party program» in the last municipal elections, and this «positive discrimination» would benefit a «religious confession».

Chega/Algarve even argues that the «lack of land for the construction of dwellings at controlled prices» makes the decision even more open to challenge.

This is despite the fact that there is still no decision from the Chamber.

Ossama Solayman guarantees that «there is not even a defined location yet», especially because it would be necessary for the land, in the PDM, to be destined for equipment for public/collective use.

«The municipality is sensitized, that is, to try to find a solution», he adds, with Rogério Bacalhau, president of the Chamber, having already visited the current headquarters of the Islamic Center of Faro.


Chega's delegation, led by João Graça, in the streets of Faro


Chega also claims that the topic will go to the Municipal Assembly on April 29th, but Ossama Solayman says that «he has not received any official confirmation».

“We ask for help in putting Faro on the map, even given the Islamic heritage of the Algarve. We want the same things as Chega, like more housing. The problems of Faro They only appeared now?” he asks, indignant.

Ossama Solayman even accuses André Ventura's party of “making a severe, shameful attack on people who work in Portugal and live here”.

According to the leader of the Islamic Center, in addition to the construction of the mosque, whose investment would be around 1 million euros, supported by a Muslim immigrant residing in Europe, the project also includes a halal supermarket (Islamic products), as well as meeting rooms .

«This would even create, at least, six jobs», stresses Ossama Solayman.

At the beginning of this week, on Monday, April 8, the topic took João Graça, leader of the Chega District and deputy in the Assembly of the Republic, and Sandra Ribeiro, also a deputy elected by Chega, to walk the streets of Faro to «understand the opinion of people from Faro regarding the provision of public land for the construction of a Mosque».

According to a note published on Facebook, the «lack of housing was undoubtedly the priority invoked by those who feel abandoned in their city where they live and work, pay taxes and without seeing the return of meeting the inhabitants' needs».

Ossama Solayman responds with one sentence: «Chega is trying to stir up hatred».


Photos: Pedro Lemos | Sul Informação



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