A New Mosque for Havana, Pros and Cons

By William McGee*

One of the models for the new mosque in Havana.

HAVANA TIMES — The city of Havana is reportedly set to be the site of one of the largest mosques in Latin America, which will serve Cuba’s estimated 10,000 Muslims, with the funding allegedly provided by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

In an era of near-daily Islamic terror attacks across the world, and given Saudi-funded mosques’ propensity for breeding terrorists and fomenting hatred and intolerance, is this well-meaning gesture towards Cuba’s Muslims, who have long been agitating for a place of worship, really a wise idea?

Even German vice-chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, whose country, in 2015, famously welcomed largely Sunni Muslim foreign migrants, has warned that Saudi Arabia is funding Islamic extremism beyond its borders. Since Chancellor Merkel’s controversial decision to open Germany’s borders, the European nation has since seen an up spike in Islamist attacks.

In my native UK, whose capital alone has, since the turn of the millennium, built over 400 new mosques, a great many belonging to the fundamentalist Salafi or Deobandi movements, our overstretched security services have prevented 13 potential terrorist attacks on the country in under four years. Since 2014, investigators in the UK have, on average, been making terror-related arrests at a rate of one a day.

Aside from the real threat of terrorism, Saudi-funded mosques have long been known for preaching a hardline version of Islam by promoting the subjugation of and violence against women, condemning liberal values and non-Islamic systems of government, and preaching intolerance towards activities enjoyed by the wider Cuban population, such as drinking alcohol and premarital relations.

The location of the mosque is also a symbolic one. Old Havana is little changed since the days when the Spanish treasure fleet would rendezvous there before making the arduous journey back to the then colonial master. Old Havana is a treasure trove in itself, of grand and beautifully-restored colonial buildings, rightfully earning it UNESCO World Heritage status. Tourists flock from all over the world to marvel at the municipality’s unique charm, which may well now be under threat.

A provisional mosque was already opened in Old Havana in 2015, with a historic building altered with the addition of an incongruous minaret. With many of Havana’s charming but crumbling buildings in urgent need of restoration, perhaps investment could be better redirected. This would surely be of more use to the Cuban population than the construction of a mega-mosque.

*A Havana Times guest writer

11 thoughts on “A New Mosque for Havana, Pros and Cons

  • September 23, 2018 at 11:24 pm
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    Islam is a religion that will change the world- convert the previously inconvertible and do it peacefully- no one can force anyone to become a Muslim. But when islam enters their heart, they wholeheartedly accept it. This is the reason why western governments write disparaging warnings and even threatening exhortations about the growth of Islam, which has no conspirators, dictators, or reactionary governments behind it.
    Islam can only cause change for the better in Cuba, as it will in the new world to come, because weapons and armies are not their propagations- only what is written in the Quran, which in fourteen hundred years has not, or can ever be changed to suit any individual, or world power. The power of Islam is indeed in the words of the Quran. Keep an eye on Cuba and see for yourself how Islam will grow to overtake anything that gets in its way without Muslims ever having to raise an army there, and then you too will se the power of the Quran and its effect on any government- be it left, or rightist.

  • February 21, 2018 at 7:31 am
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    I think its fantastic that Cuba is getting a mosque! some people have a disease in their hearts and want everything and everybody to be the same.

  • February 21, 2018 at 7:20 am
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    Such negatitvity and racism in this article. what a shame. take a minute to learn about Muslims and Islam. It is about peace and love. some individuals have tried to spoil its good name. You don’t judge a whole nation on the actions of a few. The vast majority of Muslims are peaceful. shame on William Mcgee for conflating Islam with islamism. the two are very separate.

  • June 12, 2017 at 1:18 pm
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    Money. That’s all there is. They gave a few dollars to the corrupted Cuban government in exchange for letting them build another nest of Wahhabi terrorism.

  • June 12, 2017 at 1:17 pm
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    the Saudis have money. That’s all that matter.

  • May 5, 2017 at 1:29 am
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    Cuba [read this as the castro dynasty] is not compromising its safety and security by allowing the building of a mosque in Havana, because there are only 10,000 muslims in Cuba [a drop in the bucket, the total population is approximately 11,000,000 most of whom are catholics] and it’s a totalitarian regime. The one thing that Cuba will not permit is the building of new churches. You see, the Catholic Church is the only real threat to Cuba and that’s why for years they’re infiltrated it [the former cardinal Jaime Ortega was an acquiescing, slobbering sycophant of the castros] and control it so much. Note how they did allow a few years ago the building of a Greek Orthodox Church in Havana [as if the handful of Greek Orthodox Christians in Cuba merited such a building], but stand firmly against the Catholic Church building new churches or bringing in new clergy. Needless to say that a new mosque that size will require quite a few Muslim clergy and the regime will allow it, since it doesn’t feel threatened by Muslims.

  • April 18, 2017 at 3:43 pm
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    Maybe they will bring in Muslims to build it!! They don’t drink or party!!

  • April 14, 2017 at 9:12 pm
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    I would have thought an Iranian funded Shia mosque would suit the Hezbollah agents in Cuba better than a Sunni Saudi site.

  • April 12, 2017 at 8:44 am
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    Why the hell would Cuba want to comprise it’s safety and security?! Not to mention ruin the ambiance of Old Havana? If people want to worship Islam let them do it in the privacy of their own homes. Or even better in: Iraq, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, Somalia, Pakistan, or one of the other countless places that the religion of Islam has destroyed!

  • April 12, 2017 at 7:49 am
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    Please stop this! It is the manifestation of what former president (Imam) Obama had in mind when he semi-renewed relations with Cuba. His objective was to spread Islam beyond U.S. borders, once he had established it there. His nice words to the Cuban people were lies.
    First it was tourists. Then monstrous cruise ships. Now Islam?
    As the writer of this article notes, with Islam comes terrorism. Something Cuba and its people definitely do not need.
    The Cuban government, the Assembly of the People’s Party, can stop this. Please disallow any mosque in Habana Vieja.

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