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Iceland Angry Over First Mosque

Severed pigs heads and extremist Facebook pages have emerged as Reykjavik begins work on Iceland's first mosque.

So it seems Iceland is getting its first mosque. And the natives are none too happy about it. The campaign to build a mosque in Reykjavik has been ongoing since 1999 but it was only last year that the Reykjavik City Council finally granted a plot for the European nation's first mosque, and construction of the holy building is set to start next week in the city centre.

However, native Icelanders, from the general population to politicians, are not thrilled about this upcoming mosque. Facebook pages have been specifically created to deter the its construction, in addition to just garden variety Islamophobic Facebook groups with titles such as Stop the Islamization of Iceland. In the political sphere, one member of the Icelandic Progressive Party had sworn that she would reverse the city council's decision to grant the plot of land, an act which is largely impossible because Icelandic law guarantees freedom of religion and free plots of land for building houses of worship, but still goes to show the degree of anti-Islamic sentiment in the country. She did however, review her statement and say that she would prefer if there was an "open discussion and a vote" on the building of the mosque. Salmann Tamimi, the founder of the Muslim Association of Iceland, the primary group behind the building of the mosque, argues that churches and other prayer buildings require no referendums.

The former mayor has also been vocal about his displeasure over its construction, and last autumn three severed pigs heads and bloody torn-out pages of the Quran were dumped on the plot where the mosque is now set to be built.

Iceland's Muslim population only constitutes less than half a percent of the entire Icelandic population. Though there has been overwhelming Islamophobic sentiment in the country, there are also numerous Facebook groups that are for the building of the mosque.