August 7, 2014
Muslim leaders in the Spanish autonomous region of Catalonia say they have been promised a mega-mosque in Barcelona if they support independence from Spain in a referendum set for November 9.
Officials from the Catalonia’s ruling Convergence and Union Party (CiU) are seeking the ballots of all of the roughly 100,000 Muslims in the region who are eligible to vote. “If you support us in the referendum, there will be a mosque,” CiU officials are said to have promised Muslim leaders, according to Spanish media.
The mega-mosque in question is said to involve a 2.2 billion euro ($3 billion) project to convert a historic bullfighting stadium in Barcelona into the third-largest mosque in the world, after those in Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia.
The tentative plan calls for the Emir of Qatar to purchase the stadium, known as the La Monumental, and to cover all costs associated with converting the property into a mosque. The five-year project would be completed sometime around 2020.
The mosque would also include a research center on the history of Al Andalus, the Arabic name given to those parts of Spain, Portugal and France that were occupied by Muslim conquerors (also known as the Moors) from 711 to 1492.