This paper explores the opening of a purpose-built mosque in Copenhagen, treating it as a case of cross-cultural encounters in urban public space. The encounters explored, then, take a specific form; they are mediated through the architecture and materiality of the mosque and the symbolic signs and public imaginations attached to it. And they are connected to a specific event – the opening of the mosque. In the first part, a conceptual framework is presented bringing together literature on three notions: encounters, visibility and the event. Following this, the paper explores the opening event, the public debate that surrounds it, the process leading up to it and some reactions in the months that followed. The paper concludes by showing how the opening event expresses several paradoxes. The controversies over the visibility of Islam in public space push stereotypical imaginations and Islamophobic feelings to the extremes. At the same time, however, they bring together different groups in unprecedented ways and create new constellations over political, religious and cultural boundaries.
Bibliographical noteImportant note from the Publisher regarding the attached document “This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Social & Cultural Geography on 13 Sep 2017, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/14649365.2017.1373144”
Simonsen, K., Neergaard, M. D., & Koefoed, L. M. (2019). A Mosque event: the opening of a purpose-built mosque in Copenhagen. Social & Cultural Geography, 20 (5), 649-670. https://doi.org/10.1080/14649365.2017.1373144