The usual suspects, on both sides, were at a meeting last Wednesday at Krakow’s Jagiellonian University to discuss the possibility of building an Islamic Centre, complete with prayer room, in one of Poland’s most Catholic of cities.
The Al-Fan Islamic Cultural Centre is the idea of a Krakow based artist of Albanian descent, Rahim Blak, based on plans drew up by architect Stanisław Deńko.
Someone I know who was at the meeting said proceedings started with an Imam chanting prayers as Blak theatrically drew off the cloth covering a scale model of the building, which the organizers want to build in the Zwierzyniec disctict in the heart of the old town.
Apparently, Rahim Blak said that around 500 Muslims, from 300 families, live in Krakow but the city didn’t want have a mosque. There are only around 200 Jews living in the city, on the other hand, he said, but they have a place to pray. Hmm.
The local media has been full of the usual scary type coverage, of a ‘Mosque to be built under the shadow of Wawel Castle...eeek!’ and raising fears that Krakow would turn into the new Afghanistan, and be inundated with al-Qaeda wannabe weird-beard extremists training for the Jihad and then running into the old Market Square to blow themselves up.
I am told that locals at the meeting were acting like the typical NIMBY, and saying that the cultural centre should not be built in the centre of town, but maybe on the other side of the river (and far away from built up areas, one presumes). Others couldn't understand why they were picking on Krakow to build the place in the first place.
I think it was a mistake by the originator of the idea to bring the number of Jews in Krakow into the argument – that is simply playing the multicultural numbers game – but there is already a beautiful Japanese cultural centre and museum housed on the banks of the River Wisla, so why not an Islamic Centre?
Could be good for tourism? Maybe?
And anyway, one of the symbols of Krakow is the Lajkonik - and you can’t get more Islamic than that.
Don’t you think the CIA’s new logo to publicize its ‘war against terror’ - Terrorist Buster - resembles a popular 1980s movie? Are they serious?
Mosque to be built in Krakow, thenews.pl, Oct 24
Friday, October 26, 2007
Posted by beatroot at 10/26/2007