Reykjavík Mosque

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Félag múslima á Íslandi (Muslim Association of Iceland)
Moskan i reykjavik.JPG
Basic information
Location Reykjavík, Iceland
Geographic coordinates 64°08′3″N 21°52′30″W / 64.13417°N 21.87500°W / 64.13417; -21.87500
Affiliation Sunni Islam
Leadership Sheikh Salmann Tamimi
Architectural type Office Complex
Architectural style Late Modernism
Direction of façade Mecca
Groundbreaking 1987
Completed 1991
Capacity Main Prayer Hall: 50
Dome height (outer) 90 ft (27 m)
Minaret height 130 ft (40 m)
Materials Steel, Concrete, Marble, Glass

The Reykjavík Mosque (Icelandic: Moskan í Reykjavík Arabic: Masjid an-nuur The Mosque of the Light) is a Sunni mosque and gathering area for Muslims in Iceland. It is located in the Ármúli district. The mosque was opened in 2002 by the Muslim Association of Iceland after requesting the city government for permission to build a purpose-built mosque in 2000, with no swift response.[1][2]


It offers Friday prayers every week and it is open for prayers nightly also. There are two imams, Salmann Tamimi a Palestinian immigrant who was also president of the Muslim Association of Iceland until 2010, and an imam from Algeria. During Ramadan, a sheikh from Libya joins and leads the taraweeh prayers. In January 2009, a new wooden altar was built by members of the association.

Ramadan of 2013[edit]

In the year 2013, for the Islamic month of Ramadan (which fell in most of July and the beginning of August), the Muslim Association of Iceland invited Ismaeel Malik, an American currently studying at Umm al-Qura University, to lead the prayers and deliver the Friday sermons. On Saturdays, the mosque held dinners along with motivational lectures. Ismaeel Malik was also invited to an Iftar dinner hosted by Luis E. Arreaga, the current United States Ambassador to Iceland. The ambassador and the embassy staff were "particularly pleased" to have an American Muslim visiting Iceland participate in the dinner.[3]

New Mosque[edit]

Permission to build a purpose-built mosque was first sought in 1999.[4] The city government authorized a plot of land much smaller than requested but did not approve the building plans.[5] The project stalled when approval of additional land and further progress was tied to approval of the adjacent Russian Orthodox church.[6] This delay was 'especially signalled as a possible sign of prejudice against Muslims by the ECRI (European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance) human rights report on Iceland in 2007'.[7] On July 6th 2013, Reykjavík City Council, under the leadership of Jón Gnarr, gave permission for an 800 square metre purpose-built mosque in Reykjavík, with a roof no higher than nine metres and a ten-metre minaret, in the easternmost part of Sogamýri, between Miklubraut and Suðurlandsbraut. As of April 2014, a design competition is expected to be held in 2014 and building to begin in summer 2015; the mosque is to include a prayer hall, library, information centre and probably a restaurant.[8]

According to the chair of the Muslim Association of Iceland, Ibrahim Sverrir Agnarsson,

my hope is that the mosque can serve as a statement of liberalism, open to all, a place where a North African laborer can pray next to a U. S. businessman.[9]

The decision to grant the building plot free of charge proved to be controversial.[10] Siðmennt, the Icelandic Ethical Humanist Association, issued a statement about it in general terms and did not criticise this particular decision because of the principle of equal treatment. According to Siðmennt, it was not part of municipalities functions to grant building plots to any religious or life-stance organizations, such as the Evangelic-Lutheran State Church, the Catholic Church or the Association of Muslims in Iceland for that matter, free of charge. However since that system is in place it must be applied equally to all. Sidmennt would not apply for a building plot for itself though in order to stick to its main principle of separation of state and church. [11] The decision also led to the creation of a Facebook group "We protest against a mosque in Iceland" by Skúli Skúlason.[12] One independent opinion poll of adults run between September 26th and October 1st 2013 asked ‘hversu fylgjandi eða andvíg(ur) ertu því að eftirfarandi trúfélög fái að byggja trúarbyggingar á Íslandi’ ('how supportive or opposed are you that the following religious groups should get to build a religious building in Iceland?'). It found fairly consistent and positive attitudes to building by the Church of Iceland and the neo-pagan Ásatrúarfélagið (8.5% and 9.1% opposed, 67.2% and 54.7% in favour, respectively), but quite strong opposition to building by the Muslim Association of Iceland (43.4% opposed, 31.5% in favour).[13] At first, the only significant political figure to voice objections was the one-time mayor of Reykjavík Ólafur Friðrik Magnússon,in 2013,[14] but the campaign for the 2014 Icelandic local elections saw further negative comments, prominently from the Progressive Party candidate for Mayor of Reykjavík Sveinbjörg Birna Sveinbjörnsdóttir, who amongst other things declared that there were no churches in Abu Dabi despite there being at least six.[15]

In 2010 Salmann Tamimi said that the Association of Muslims in Iceland would never raise money from abroad to build the new mosque.[16]

References in popular culture[edit]

A positive, fictional account of the building of Reykjavík's first purpose-built mosque appears in Eiríkur Örn Norðdahl's 2009 novel Gæska: Skáldsaga.[17]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Államok. Egyesült, Congress. Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2007. Government Printing Office. pp. 1374–. GGKEY:5QXCANS2SXR. Retrieved 24 August 2013. 
  2. ^ International Religious Freedom Report 2006
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ Paul Fontaine, 'Bishop Of Iceland, Progressive Minister Disagree With Progressive Mayoral Candidate', The Reykjavík Grapevine 27.5.2014,
  5. ^ Paul Fontaine-Nikolov, 'You Can Worship Your God', The Reykjavík Grapevine, 13.1.2006,
  6. ^ Fontaine-Nikolov, Paul (2006-01-13). "You Can Worship Your God". The Reykjavík Grapevine. Retrieved 20 August 2009. 
  7. ^ Kristín Loftsdóttir. 2012a. Whiteness is from Another World: Gender, Icelandic International Development and Multiculturalism. European Journal of Women’s Studies, 19(1), 41–54 (p. 47).
  8. ^ Eygló Svala Arnarsdóttir, 'To a Mosque on a Magic Carpet', Iceland Review, 52.1 (2014), 64--68 (p. 66).
  9. ^ Eygló Svala Arnarsdóttir, 'To a Mosque on a Magic Carpet', Iceland Review, 52.1 (2014), 64--68 (p. 66).
  10. ^ Eygló Svala Arnarsdóttir, 'To a Mosque on a Magic Carpet', Iceland Review, 52.1 (2014), 64--68 (pp. 66-67).
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ Kári Tulinius, 'So What Is This Reykjavík Mosque I Keep Hearing About?', The Reykjavík Grapevine, 8.8.2013,
  15. ^ Jón Bjarki Magnússon, 'Kirkjurnar sem oddviti Framsóknar sá ekki: Sagði enga kirkju að finna í borginni - Að minnsta kosti sex kirkjur í borginni', DV, 23. May 2014,; Paul Fontaine, 'Bishop Of Iceland, Progressive Minister Disagree With Progressive Mayoral Candidate', The Reykjavík Grapevine, 27.5.2014,
  16. ^
  17. ^ Reykjavík: Mál og Menning.