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Looking
   at a
breakthrough

Since the construction of the mosque has started, the view from the surrounding residents windows is changing. They have been looking at a gaping hole, but are now facing scaffolding. How different it was in the late nineties, when it still looked as if the mosque would never be built. The continuing threat of expropriation has made the conflict between the council and the mosque association hit rock bottom. Suddenly, an unexpected breakthrough came, which made it possible for the conflicting parties to come together.

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View of the Mosque

It’s Sunday morning, the 9th of March, 2014. An informational meeting on the progress of construction raises questions for some attending residents. Funding for the exterior construction is complete, but to finish the interior, another 1.2 million euros are needed, a sum that is not yet available. A group of local residents is afraid that they will live next to a building site for a substantially longer period.  At the time when residents purchased their homes, some of them were told that there was only a one percent chance of a mosque being built there. The local Buddhist masseur has adopted a more spiritual perspective.

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Window view

Jan Bartelsman is a photographer who lives on the third floor of the Piri Reïscomplex. During the construction process he regularly takes photos. Take a look at some pictures he took from his window.

 

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A hopeless situation

Although the new zoning plan reserves about 1,000 square meters for a mosque, the Turks continue to keep the whole area of 6,000 square meters in use until 1998. This is possible because Milli Görüşand the district continue to disagree on a new plan acceptable for both parties. A proposal by Milli Görüşto build a mosque with architect Kees Rijnboutt is firmly rejected by the district council. To get out of the deadlock, Kabaktebe goes to Gertjan Harbers of the Amsterdam Centre for Foreigners (ACB).

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“I want to build the most beautiful mosque of Western Europe”

An unexpected turn

Frank Bijdendijk, in 1998 the director of housing corporation Het Oosten, is touched by the idea of a mosque that is not only a religious space, but also a bridge between the Muslim community and the citizens of Amsterdam. It is precisely the idea of integration that is appealing to Bijdendijk, as the director of a housing corporation in which more than fifty percent of the tenants is Muslim. He contacts district chairman Henk van Waveren. Soon, the ice is broken.

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The breakthrough

Largely due to the efforts of social housing director Bijdendijk, Üzeyir Kabaktepe (Milli Görüş) and district chairman Henk van Waveren (Labour Party, PvdA) make amends. Kabaktepe later speaks of “a breakthrough allowing all parties to pull together.” For the first time they are taking big steps forward. For Kabaktepe, this was a huge relief.

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Uniting the parties

At a meeting for residents, mosque community and press, the three partners present their plans for the mosque as a project in which religion, housing and business come together. According to Van Waveren, then the district chairman, these large steps were possible because the quality of the plan was very high. The design of the French-Jewish architect couple Nada and Marc Breitman has united the parties.

October 2000
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Deelbeeld
Deelbeeld
Deelbeeld
Deelbeeld
2015
1994