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Court orders Simferopol Authorities to grant permit for Soborna Mosque

01.02.2011    source:
Volodymyr Prytula

The Spiritual Directorate of Crimean Muslims reports that Ukraine’s High Economic Court has upheld the right of Crimean Muslims to build a Soborna, or Assembly, Mosque in Simferopol.  The Crimean Muslims are again planning to demand official permission for the construction of the Mosque.

This conflict has continued since 2004 and despite court rulings, the Crimean Prosecutor has so far not reacted.

There was some reaction when, at the end of last year, the Crimean Prosecutor appealed against the decision of the Sevastopol Economic Court of Appeal from 3 November 2010. The latter court had rejected the City Council’s appeal against a ruling from another court which ordered the city authorities in Simferopol to conclude a lease agreement  with the Spiritual Directorate of Crimean Muslims for land to build the Soborna Mosque. In the event that the city authorities did not conclude an agreement, this would be considered made.

A statement from the Spiritual Directorate says that the High Economic Court rejected the Crimean Prosecutor’s cassation appeal. According to the Mufti of the Crimean Tatars, Khadzha Emirati Ablayev, this means that the disputed land at 22 Yaltinska St is now under lease to the Spiritual Directorate of Muslims and the construction of the Soborna Mosque can begin.

The Spiritual Directorate of Muslims had originally planned to build the Soborna Mosque in the Simferopol park where in 1944 the camp for those being deported was located and where many died. However under pressure from the authorities, the Muslims agreed to an alternative proposal, this being to build the Mosque on Yaltinska St.

In 2004 the Simferopol City Council agreed this with the Spiritual Directorate and issued the relevant permits. However two years later, when all the documents had been collected and the technical plan drawn up, the Council unexpectedly refused to provide the land.  It claimed that this was because the land was in the reservoir’s protection zone. The Muslims began a protest action and brought around 250 thousand bricks for the building, one from each Muslim. They held services in the open air in that place each Friday. They say that they have no intention of moving from this location, although the Simferopol and Crimean authorities have suggesting allocating a place somewhere else.

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