Cuba’s Muslims, by estimates no more than a few thousand, have lived for decades under Communist repression.
Many have never worshiped at a mosque, since mosques are banned in the country.
But that is about to change.
Due to efforts by Turkey, a nation increasingly seen as a global champion of Islam, Cuba may now finally get it’s first mosque.
According to a report at vocativ.com Turkish officials have already sent a delegation to Cuba discuss the project.
The report mentions that plans so far call for building a mosque in Havana “modeled after the 19th-century Baroque style of Ortakoy Mosque in Istanbul.”
Turkish officials were quoted as saying that the project was part of “a wider effort to reach out to Muslims across the Caribbean.”
Another such project was said to be planned for Haiti by the end of the year.
The goal for the Havana mosque is a facility that will be 32,300 square feet with the capacity to serve 500 people.
That should be a significant improvement for the island’s Muslims who currently, according to the report, “pray in their homes or, on Fridays, in the living room of Pedro Lazo Torre, the leader of Havana’s Muslim community.”
Luis Mesa Delmonte, a Cuban academic in Mexico City, was quoted as saying that President Raul Castro’s government approved the project as part of a wider effort to reform the nation’s Communist system.
While initial plans to build the mosque with only local input stalled, Turkey’s intervention has now brought is closer to being a reality.
Despite the positive developments, Cuba’s ambassador to Turkey, Alberto Gonzales Casals, cautioned that the final decision of who would build the mosque is yet to be made.
Regardless of who builds it, once it is complete, Cuba’s Muslims would no doubt appreciate the immensity of a blessing that many other Muslims take for granted.
Originally published in www.muslimvillage.com