New Place of Worship: Wil mosque attracts thousands of visitors


New Place of Worship: Wil mosque attracts thousands of visitors

Thousands of curious visitors made the trip to a new mosque in Wil in northeast Switzerland, which was inaugurated last weekend. The place of worship was at the center of a controversy over the construction of minarets eight years ago. The modern building, located in the German-speaking town of Wil in canton St Gallen, opened its doors to more than 6,500 visitors on May 13 and the same number on Sunday, a mosque official told

The weekend-long dedication culminates a years-long effort by Muslim groups in Switzerland to overcome resistance to building a mosque in Wil. The new mosque also conforms to the 2009 Swiss voter-approved constitutional ban on the construction of minarets.

A decade ago, plans to build minarets on mosques in the towns of Langenthal, Wil and Wangen near Olten in the German-speaking regions sparked controversy. It peaked in a nationwide ballot on November 29, 2009, when 57.5% of voters approved an initiative by rightwing parties to ban the construction of minarets.

It is the newest of more than 200 Swiss mosques that serve up to 400,000 Muslims in Switzerland, or nearly 5% of the nation’s 8.3 million population. Muslims in Switzerland represent an extremely diverse community divided along ethnic and linguistic lines. The vast majority, however, originate from the Balkans region and Turkey.

Source: The Muslim Times

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