TBILISI, DFWatch–Batumi Muslims continue to rally for permission to build a new mosque in the city. The only existing mosque, called Ortajame, is not large enough and people have to pray on the street.
Several hundred Muslims gathered outside the government office of the Adjara Autonomous Republic in the center of Batumi on Friday. The protesters also addressed recent conflict between Christians and Muslims concerning a cemetery in Adigeni, demanded a proper response from the government to these kinds of cases and to punish the guilty.
Muslims also demand to allocate space to construct a Muslim boarding school in Kobuleti, a Black Sea resort town near Batumi. They claim that a democratic country like Georgia has to allow every person to freely pray, study and be buried as required by his or her belief.
One of the protesters, Aslan Abashidze, told journalists that for many years they have appealed to all government bodies, local and central, asking for permission to build another mosque in Batumi, but to no avail.
“We will not hesitate to hold permanent rallies,” he said.
Tariel Nakaidze, of Georgian Muslims Union, said their protest on Friday was to warn and remind the government about their demands. If there is no response, they will continue their rallies and resort to other democratic forms of protest.