Ailing Cuban leader Fidel Castro is reported to have promised to build a mosque for his country’s 7,000 Muslims, according to members of the Humanitarian Aid Foundation (İHH) who visited the Caribbean country during Ramadan.
Cuba, one of the few remaining communist countries in the world and one of the most populated in the Caribbean with a population of 11 million, has a tiny Muslim minority that does not have a place to practice their religion collectively. The country’s 7,000 Muslims asked the government to build a mosque, something Castro personally promised to grant them after learning about the demand while on his sickbed.
All of the world’s Muslim countries have embassies, representative bureaus and consulates in Havana, which is home to some 4,000 Muslims, but there is no single mosque or mesjid, prayer room, where Muslims can pray with other Muslims. The country’s Muslim population organized under the Cuban Islamic Union to be able to communicate to the government their desire to have a place of worship. The union, which claims to represent all of the country’s Muslims, demanded a mosque last week from government officials. They relayed this request to the Cuban leader, who is reported to have promised support to make the task easier. Although the country’s Muslims are not subject to pressure because of their religious beliefs, they have problems stemming from the fact that they have no collective place of worship. Cuban Muslims mostly perform the congregational Friday prayer on the balcony of the Cuban Islamic Union. Representatives from the İHH have been giving free iftar dinners to the Muslims of Cuba.