Norway Awards Grant to Islamic Group to Convert Churches into Mosques
Norwegian government gives 100,000 euros to Islamic Cultural Center
The Norwegian government has given a grant of 100,000 euros to an Islamic group to convert two 100-year-old churches into mosques in Norway.
The leader of the centrist Norwegian Christian People’s Party, Kjell Ingolf Ropstad, approved a grant for 1 million kroner (USD $110,000) to transform the buildings into Muslim places of worship.
The money has been awarded to the Islamic Cultural Center (ICC), who will use the funds to convert old prayer houses in Skien and Stavanger into mosques.
The ICC organization already has several Islamic schools linked to mosques in Drammen, Oslo, and Mjøndalen where children can stay overnight, Aftenposten reports.
This isn’t the first time Ropstad has issued large sums of money to the Islamist group, which has a total of 3,775 registered members, on behalf of the Norwegian government.
The Islamic Cultural Center has previously received nearly 70,000 euros ($78k) to convert a former Baptist church in Stavanger to a mosque.
Ropstad also handed the group another 20,000 euros ($22k) to convert “The Way” prayer house in Skien to a mosque.
Søndre Nordstrand Muslim Center has also been awarded nearly 30,000 euros ($33.5k) under the same type of grant.
Norway has seen a large increase in the number of converted Muslims over recent years.
Last year, a researcher at Oslo University’s Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages said the number had risen to at least 3,000.
Norway’s leading Verdens Gang newspaper reported that the number of Norwegians choosing to become Muslim since the 1990s is increasing.
The report said the number of converted Muslims in the country during 1990s was around 500 while this number has reached around 3,000 in recent years.
Noting that previously Norwegian women used to convert to Islam as a result of marrying Muslim men, Vogt said: “This trend has now changed drastically.
"Now, women are choosing Islam after reading and researching about Islam.”
Monica Salmouk, a converted Muslim, told the newspaper she visited the Islamic Cultural Center mosque in Greenland, Oslo and chose to adopt Islam as her religion.
Solva Nabila Sexelin, a 42-year old Norwegian, also said she decided to convert to Islam after being inspired by the Muslim asylum seekers she was helping out.
Meanwhile, the French government has started shutting down mosques, schools, and other Islamic establishments in a major nationwide crackdown on "political Islam" in France.
French authorities have closed down over 150 closed associations linked to the proliferation of radical Islamist political ideology across fifteen districts throughout France.
The government has so far shut down 129 drinking establishments, 12 mosques, four schools, and nine other associations with links to "political Islam and communitarianism," France's Secretary of State for the Interior Laurent Nuñez announced.
“We fight against political Islamism that suggests that the law of God is superior to that of the Republic,” Nuñez warned as he spoke to members of the French press.
"'Political Islamism' should never be confused with religious Islam," he added.
The Interior Ministry told AFP that these closures are part of "a comprehensive plan to fight against political Islamism."