With less than two million people, Kosovo, which declared its independence from Serbia in 2008, is the home of over 800 mosques. Now the Islamic Community of Kosovo is building the “Central Mosque” at an estimated cost of $35 to $40 million. Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs (the Diyanet) is financing the project.
The Diyanet also financed the building of a similar mosque on a 10,000-square-meter parcel of land in Tirana, Albania — the largest mosque in the Balkans — along with dozens of other mosques across neighboring countries.
Diyanet is the official Turkish state institution whose role is “to execute the works concerning the beliefs, worship, and ethics of Islam, enlighten the public about their religion, and administer the sacred worshiping places.” Diyanet is also responsible for the religious affairs of the Turkish diaspora. In Germany alone, it administers 970 mosques, run by imams trained by the organization.
Austria was the first country to realize that the mosques built with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s money are used for political purposes to promote his Islamic agenda. In June 2018, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz ordered the closing of seven mosques built by Diyanet, and deported 60 imams and their families with ties to Turkey as part of the “fight against political Islam.”