Mosque near Ground Zero, Great Mosque at Granada
Michelle Obama made dusk visit to Great Mosque of Granada during Spanish trip
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While President Barack Obama was “forcefully” endorsing the Ground Zero Mosque, Michelle Obama was paying homage with her presence to the Great Mosque at Granada, which overlooks what was once Islam’s most important outpost in Europe, the Alhambra palace in Granada.
There is no doubt about the influence of the Great Mosque of Granada overlooking Alhambra. One Spanish guidebook states that the Alhambra is to Granada what St.Peter’s is to Rome or St. Mark’s Square to Venice.
Michelle Obama and her nine-year-old daughter, Sasha, visited the Alhambra Mosque at dusk on the second day of her visit to Spain, one day after Barack had celebrated his 49th birthday without his family with Chicago friends.
Built in 2003, the Great Mosque in Granada, like the mosque planned in the shadow of Ground Zero, was born in controversy.
“The land on which the mosque has been built was bought 22 years ago, but city authorities continually objected to the planning proposals.” (Victory News Magazine, July 17, 2003). “When it was finally accepted that the land could be used for religious purposes, objections were raised to the layout of the building. Planners had to rethink the height and design of the building’s minaret but opposition to the scheme, which received financial backing from Libya, the United Arab Emirates and Morocco, gradually subsided.”
Back in 2004, the mayor, a member of Spain’s ruling right-wing party, attended the inauguration.
“The King of Spain was also offered an invitation but “prior engagements” meant he was unable to accept,” wrote Victory News Magazine.
On inauguration day, a muezzin called Spanish Muslims to prayer at the first mosque to be opened in Granada since the 1492 reconquista, the culmination of a 22-year project.
“For those who built the Great Mosque of Granada, which looks out onto the Alhambra Palace, its inauguration, attended by a string of Muslim and non-Muslim dignitaries, heralds a new dawn for the faith in Europe.”
“The mosque is a symbol of a return to Islam among the Spanish people and among indigenous Europeans that will break with the malicious concept of Islam as a foreign and immigrant religion in Europe,” says Abdel Haqq Salaberria, a spokesman for the mosque and convert to Islam.
“It will act as a vocal point for the Islamic revival in Europe.”
The call to prayer of the muezzin can now be heard in the narrow streets and alleyways of Albaicin, the city’s old Moorish district, as a new generation of Spanish converts which is growing in numbers and confidence gives the city back a small part of its ancient Islamic heart.
“When we stand in the garden and look out at the Alhambra, we tell people what they see is not something built by Arabs but by the people of Granada—by their own forebears, who were Muslims and spoke Arabic,” said Malik Ruiz, a local engineer who is the president of the mosque and president of the Islamic Community in Spain.
While the builders of the Mosque near Ground Zero claim it is being built to foster interfaith sentiments with other religions, its detractors insist it is a victory mosque built to commemorate the slaughter of 3,000 Americans on Sept. 11, 2001.
The money to build the Ground Zero Mosque is said to be coming from Muslim countries.
Other than referring to it in passing, there has been no media coverage about Michelle Obama’s dusk visit to the Great Mosque at Granada. Prayer times at the mosque on Aug. 5 were 6:09 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
While Michelle Obama was roundly criticized as a spendthrift American Marie Antoinette during her visit to Spain, was she on official Mosque business for her husband?
Were messages exchanged between Michelle Obama and the principals of the Great Mosque at Granada on August 5, 2010?