For the past 16 years, Huseyin Gunduz has dreamt of building a mosque in the Dutch capital, Amsterdam.
Having had to perform congregational prayers in factories, community centres and people’s basements; he has spent years campaigning and fundraising to build a place of worship and make his dream a reality.
In The Mosque of West Amsterdam, we follow Huseyin as work finally nears completion on the Western Mosque.
“The thought of the outcome and success leaves me speechless,” he says. “I believe we’ll be rewarded in the afterlife for our contribution and efforts.”
Known locally as Westermoskee, the structure – modeled on Istanbul’s iconic Hagia Sophia – is in urgent need of funds to be completed.
From its conception, in the early 1990s, to the present day – construction has been fraught with controversy, as well as political and financial difficulties.
Planning problems, corruption scandals, local opposition and anti-Islamic prejudice have plagued the project, halting development for nearly a decade.
The extreme-right leader Geert Wilders, whose Freedom Party is riding high in the opinion polls, has also been an outspoken critic, leading to growing local opposition.
This film looks at how Huseyin tries to raise the capital necessary for development while trying to bridge relations with residents who are growing increasingly weary of the mosque.
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