Apparent breakthrough on Crimea’s Soborna Mosque
On Tuesday the Simferopol City Council gave its consent for the preparation of a plan for transferring a land site to the Spiritual Directorate of Crimean Muslims in order to build a Soborna or Assembly Mosque.
As reported, back in 2004 the Simferopol City Council agreed the location of a 2.7 hectare area of land with the Spiritual Directorate. It was envisaged that the Soborna Mosque which should become the largest in Ukraine and hold up to 3 thousand believers, would be built on Yaltynska St, no. 22.
However in January 2008 the Simferopol City Council suddenly decided to allocate a different plot of land, on the outskirts of Simferopol, on Luhova St.
The report notes only that this aroused protest from Crimean Tatars, It was not only they, however, who were outraged by this about-face, and there were also very cogent reasons. The planning and permits had involved very considerable cost and effort, and effectively needed to be started from scratch.
The meeting of the City Council was addressed by Crimea’s Prime Minister Vasyl Dzharty who stated that the issue had been debated for years and it was not clear why previous City Councils had opposed the construction on Yaltynska St. Dzharty, who heads the Crimean branch of the Party of the Regions turned to his fellow party members on the City Council (59 out of 76 Deputies) asking them to support the decision to allow the plan. 71 Deputies out of 72 present then voted for the proposal.
Deputy Head of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People, Refat Chubarov, in commenting on the decision, said that he had spoken after the session to Dzharty and the Mayor of Simferopol, Viktor Ageyev, and that they had assured him that the agreeing of the documents needed at this stage would be done in as short a space of time as possible, a month or month and a half. After that the City Council would pass a second decision to directly hand the land over for permanent use.