By Soeren Kern at Gatestone Institute:
Although critics of the Helsinki mega-mosque have warned that the building will be used by the Iranian regime to recruit impressionable youths to Hezbollah, Finnish politicians have embraced the Shia mosque as a symbol of multicultural progress.
A new mega-mosquehas been inaugurated in the Finnish capital, Helsinki. Unlike most mosques in Europe, which cater to Sunni Muslims, the mosque in Helsinki ministers to Shia Islam.
The Helsinki mosque has been paid for by the Islamic Republic of Iran; critics say that theocrats in Tehran intend to use the mosque to establish a recruiting center for the militant Shia Muslim group Hezbollah in Europe.
The dimensions of the new mosque are enormous by Finnish standards. The 700-square-meter (7,500 square-feet) mega-mosque, located adjacent to a metro station in the eastern Helsinki district of Mellunmäki, features a massive prayer room for 1,000 worshippers.
The mosque has been built by the Ahlul-Bayt Foundation, a radical Shia Muslim proselytizing and political lobbying group presided over by the Iranian government. Ahlul-Bayt already runs around 70 Islamic centers around the world, and has as its primary goal the promotion of the religious and political views of Islamic radicals in Iran.
Ahlul-Bayt is opposed to all brands of Islam that compete with the form of Islam dictated by theocrats in Iran: the organization has called for the persecution of Sunni Muslims, Sufi Muslims, and Alawites, as well as all secular and moderate Muslims. The organization also outspokenly opposes the integration of Muslim immigrants into their host societies.
Ahlul-Bayt is especially focused on spreading Islamic Sharia law beyond the Middle East; its centers in Africa and Asia, for example, have been used to radicalize local Muslim communities there. In a typical quid-pro-quo arrangement, the organization offers money to the poor, who then convert to Shia Islam and are subjected to religious training by Iranian-backed Imams. The group has been banned in at least a dozen countries.
In Europe, Ahlul-Bayt mosques are usually presented to the general public as centers for cultural and sports activities; in practice, however, they are often used by Iranian intelligence to monitor Iranians living abroad and to harass Iranian dissidents.
In Germany, for instance, the Imam Ali mosque in Hamburg was linked to the September 1992 assassination of four leaders of the Iranian Kurdish Democratic Party at the Mykonos restaurant in Berlin.
In Britain, the Ahlul-Bayt mosque in London was involved in issuing death threats against the British-Indian writer Salman Rushdie. The mosque has also been used to recruit terrorists and to spy on Iranian exiles living in England and Wales.
In Denmark, the city council of Copenhagen recently authorized Ahlul-Bayt to build the first official “Grand Mosque” in the Danish capital. The mega-mosque, which will have a massive blue dome as well as two towering minarets, is architecturally designed to stand out over Copenhagen’s low-rise skyline.
The man set to become the main imam at the new mosque in Copenhagen, Mohammed Mahdi Khademi, is a former military officer who ran the ideology department of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps until 2004, when he was hand-picked by the Iranian regime to move to Denmark. Many Iranian exiles believe Khademi maintains close ties to Iranian intelligence and fear the new mosque will be used against them.
Although critics of the Helsinki mega-mosque have warned that the building will be used by the Iranian regime to recruit impressionable Muslim immigrant youths for service to Hezbollah, Finnish politicians have embraced the Shia mosque as a symbol of multicultural progress.
According to Egypt Today magazine, multiculturalism has turned Finland into a paradise for Muslim immigration, not only for Shia Muslims, but also for rival Sunni Muslims.