The Azerbaijan State News Agency

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Ice mosque planned for Lapland

Baku, October 20 (AZERTAC). Sweden`s Muslims are planning to build an `Ice Mosque` in Jukkasjärvi, the Lapland home of the country`s famous Ice Hotel.

Imam Mahmoud Aldebe, head of the Swedish Muslim Association, said that the mosque would be an opportunity to tell tourists about Islam.

"It would be a new way of seeking dialogue between different cultures and religions," he told Norrländska Socialdemokraten, a local paper.

"It`s not actually such a controversial idea. It has been received well with everyone we have spoken to."

Each winter, Ice Hotel founder Yngve Bergqvist, oversees the sculpting of a giant 5,500 square metre complex, using ice cut from the local Torne river.

The first ice building was built in 1989, with the first guests staying the night in 1992. Now about 25,000 guests travel from across the world to stay in the hotel, from its opening at the start of December to its closure in April.

The hotel includes an ice church, where around 150 couples are married each winter.

"We have visitors from all over the world, and many come from places like London or Saudi Arabia. We thought it might be a fun idea, seeing as we already have an ice church," Mr Bergqvist told the paper.

He said that it was already too late to build the mosque this year.

"We are looking into it and it was overly ambitious to believe we could get the project under way this year. We shall see what the future will bring," Mr Bergqvist told the paper.

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