The project was launched by the Qatar Charity’s Ghaith Initiative. In 2015 the global Ghaith initiative decided to serve Islamic projects worldwide in order to introduce the Islamic culture and strengthen its presence in Western communities.
In its statement the charity noted: “It also seeks to sustain the economic resources of Islamic educational and cultural organisations, marketing its programmes professionally and implementing various initiatives to keep pace with upcoming developments.”
Qatar Charity says the centre will be “strategically located in the border region between France, Germany and Switzerland” and serve 200 000 Muslims in the area.
Qatar Charity’s chairman, Sheikh Hamad bin Nasser bin Jassem Al Thani, said the project reflected the charity’s eagerness to “strengthen the Islamic identity of Muslim communities in Europe”.
It stated that the centre was being overseen by Qatar Charity UK, whose deputy chairman, Salah al-Hammadi, is the son of the Qatari missionary preacher Sheikh Dr Ahmed al-Hammadi, the driving force behind the Ghaith Initiative.
In June 2015, shortly before the launch of the initiative, Sheikh Ahmed tweeted that “the historic impact of the Muslims on Europe remains to this day, and cannot in fairness be denied”, adding that “leading scholars in Europe testify to the major role of the Muslims in its renaissance”.
In France, he said there were 12 million Muslims – at least double most other estimates – and that 10,000 people a year converted to Islam. “The Al Noor Centre is a quantum leap in terms of projects in Europe,” the younger al-Hammadi said at the French delegation’s press conference.
The project will cost €27 million ($29.4 million), of which nearly half had been raised by June 2016, and it has the backing of Qatar’s Ministry of Awqaf (Islamic endowments) and Islamic Affairs.
It will cooperate fully “with all local authorities and institutions working for the public benefit and fighting against Islamophobia, racism and incitement to hatred, contributing to Muslim community service, helping them to practise their religious duties, meeting their cultural needs and activating the spirit of active citizenship and positive partnership and commitment.
It will also teach Arabic language and Islamic education to more than 800 children and young people — including Quran memorisation — and incorporate a regular school which will accommodate 300 students, providing them with a good level of education which will allow them to ultimately enter the most prestigious local universities.”
The French chapter of Génération Identitaire has voiced its opposition to the new mosque in Mulhouse.
The centre covers more than 1500 square meters and is integrated with an Islamic Center An-Noor that covers more than 10 000 square meters. It’s one of the largest projects in Europe, “and no-one, or almost no-one, has heard about it” a spokesperson of GI said. “It’s a true scandal because this mosque belongs to AMAL — the Association of Muslims of Alsace, an affiliate of the UOIF — the French branch of the Muslim Brotherhood — an organisation considered to be terrorist in many countries.”
Among the supporters of the an-Noor mosque are Hani Ramadan, the brother of Tariq Ramadan, who authored an article defending shariah in 2002, also justifying stoning. Tariq was banned from French territory in 2017.
Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, the principal religious reference of the Muslim Brotherhood, is wanted by Interpol and known for legitimizing suicide attacks. The an-Noor mosque was partially financed by the association Qatar Charity, a pseudo-NGO, which is regularly accused of supporting terrorist groups in Syria or in Mali.
Among its employees os Hanane Aboulhana, the woman who was killed on March 5 in the Islamist attack on the prison Condé sur Sarthe, where she produced a ceramic knife to attack the guards.
Mulhouse mayor Michèle Lutz has been silent. Génération Identitaire has been informing the inhabitants of Mulhouse and has called out public officials cooperating with the project.