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Liberal Dutch mosque closes due to finance woes

November 17, 2010

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AMSTERDAM—An experimental liberal mosque in the Netherlands that held prayers in Dutch instead of Arabic, has closed its doors due to financial problems.

The Polder Mosque in Amsterdam was an attempt to provide a model for young Dutch-born Muslims and converts to learn about Islam and practice it in a secular European nation. The project drew widespread positive attention, a counterpoint to the anti-Islam sentiment that dominates Dutch political debate.

Chairwoman Yassmine el Ksaihi, 24, said Wednesday the mosque will reorganize and attempt to reopen in a smaller, more affordable location next year.

Its total debts are around euro200,000 ($270,000). It has turned down offers of help from foreign sponsors, saying that violated its founding principles.

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