An appeals court granted permission Tuesday 19 June 2012 for the building of a multi-million-euro mosque in the city of Marseille that has been touted as a symbol of Islam’s growing place in France.
The project was granted a permit in September 2009 but construction was suspended following some complaints.
The 22-million-euro ($28-million) project would see the Grand Mosque, boasting a minaret soaring 25-metres (82-feet) high and room for up to 7,000 worshippers, built in the city’s northern Saint-Louis area.
Muslim leaders in the Mediterranean city had hailed the approval of the project as a key step in recognizing the importance of Marseille’s large Muslim community.
France’s second city is home to an estimated 250,000 Muslims. Abderrahman Ghoul, the head of the Marseille Mosque association backing the project, hailed the court’s decision as “very good news”.
Only 200,000 euros worth of donations have so far been collected, but Ghoul said he now expected fundraising to pick up pace.
The project’s architect, Maxime Repaux, said construction was expected to start in the beginning of 2013.
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