Geneva, Switzerland houses a Russian Orthodox Church, the Greek Orthodox Centre of the Ecumenical Patriarch, a large Jewish Centre and the World Council of Churches.
Geneva, Switzerland houses a Russian Orthodox Church, the Greek Orthodox Centre of the Ecumenical Patriarch, a large Jewish Centre and the World Council of Churches. King Khalid of Saudi Arabia opened the city's first Mosque today (1 June).
SYNOPSIS: The Mosque and Islamic Centre was ordered and paid for by the King. About 300 Arab diplomats and businessmen, Geneva dignitaries and the Swiss Foreign Minister applauded King Khalid as he walked into the centre. Camouflaged policemen crouched behind machine guns in the bushes outside.
Chanted verses from the Koran filled the air, at the inauguration ceremony in the centre's marble-columned patio. Three hundred workers, took three years to complete the multi-million dollar mosque. The cost of the mable, mosaics, carpentry and crystal can only be guessed at. The Turkish architect declined to reveal the budge to the press. The mosque will be the place of prayer for the thousands of Arab diplomats and business magnates who live in Geneva.
The growing Moslem community had an unofficial meeting place until the opening of the mosque, in an international hotel, where suites at an average cost of 700 dollars a night are booked year round by Arab guests. Switzerland has an historic tradition of religious universality which continues with the opening of this Islamic Culture centre. The Mosque also reflects the growing Arab influence in Geneva. King Khalid led the first prayers towards Mecca, at the opening ceremonies.