09 December 2019, 22:49
Batumi Mayoralty appeals against court ruling on mosque construction
The Batumi authorities have refused to treat their refusal to a group of Muslims to build a mosque in their own land plot as discrimination. The Mayoralty had no offered an alternative land plot. Human rights defenders have noted a high level of domestic xenophobia in Batumi.
The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that in May 2017, the Batumi Mayoralty did not allow the Muslim community to start building a mosque in a land plot located in a densely developed residential area. This September, the court treated the Mayoralty's refusal as discrimination and ordered to reconsider the decision.
Tamta Mikeladze, an employee of the NGO "Centre for Human Rights Monitoring and Education" and a member of the Georgian Bar Association, has confirmed that the Umma (Muslim community) itself raised money for the mosque.
"Very often Muslim students are facing ridicule attitude at the university from other students or teachers. Besides, history and literature teachers are often meet in schools, who talk about Islam as a hostile religion or teach that Georgia is a Christian country and not a secular one, in which different religions should coexist," Ms Mikeladze has stated.
Arnold Stepanyan, the head of the "Multinational Georgia" Coalition, has also noted that many Batumi residents are prejudiced against Muslims. The task of the Batumi Mayoralty in the situation with the mosque construction is to prevent any religion-based confrontation, he is sure.