New mosque is being built without a permission in Mokhe

According to the information acquired by TDI, the new mosque is being built without a construction permit in the village Mokhe, Adigeni municipality. Illegal construction of religious building creates unstable legal conditions for the new mosque, as well as for the believers, as the illegally constructed mosque might become a subject of dismantling the building by the state, thus local Muslims might remain without a place of worship again.

On November 21, 2017 TDI filed a lawsuit against Adigeni City Hall and requested to bind the municipality to issue public information on the construction permit of a new mosque in the village Mokhe. On January 8, 2018 hearing of the lawsuit was held at Akhaltsikhe District Court.                                          

On October 19, 2017 TDI requested public information from Adigeni Municipality City Hall about the new mosque in the village Mokhe, including information on its construction permit and other related documents. Zakaria Endeladze, Mayor of Adigeni municipality confirmed in the letter of October 25, that the new mosque is being built in Mokhe and the first floor of the building is already completed. The letter did not include information about the construction permit or any other related documents, that could confirm the lawfulness of the construction process. 

On November 2, 2017 TDI addressed Adigeni Municipality City Hall again and request public information on the construction permit, however the Municipality still did not issue the information. [1]

On January 8, 2018 hearing of the lawsuit was held at Akhaltsikhe District Court. The representative of Adigeni Municipality Mayor's office confirmed that the mosque, building of which was publicly promised by the State Agency for Religious Issues and by the LEPL Administration of Muslims of All Georgia at press-conference on 11 May[2],  is being built without a legal permission.

On January 12, 2018 Akhaltsikhe District Court pronounced its judgment: sustained TDI’s request and ordered Adigeni City Hall to send information about the new Mosque to TDI. Accordingly, the City Hall has to officially notify TDI that the construction permit for building a new mosque in Mokhe has never been issued.  

Local Muslim population of the village Mokhe has been requesting return of the of the historic mosque for years. In 2014 the local authorities’ intention to dismantle the ruined building was followed by protests from Muslims. The Georgian government, which was represented by the State Agency for Religious Issues, created special commission to study the issue of disputed building and thus unjustifiably prolonged the process for three years, without revealing historic owner of the property. On May 11, 2017 State made the decision not to transfer the disputed building to its historic owner, to shift it from municipality to the property of National Agency of State Property, and to include in the list of cultural heritage entities with the name "Disputed building". Besides the above-mentioned, it was decided, to transfer the land plot in the village Mokhe to the LEPL Administration of All Muslims of Georgia, in order to build the new mosque there. The State Agency for Religious Issues took responsibility to coordinate the above process. [3]

The desire of the State to fully control the Muslim community in Georgia has been exposed in a number of discriminatory and vague decisions. For instance, the state created many obstacles to the construction of a new mosque in Batumi. For now, only one mosque operates in Batumi, which can not provide enough space for the believers. Despite the fact, that the applicants met all the necessary legal requirements to obtain building permit for new mosque in Batumi, Batumi City Hall did not grant permission for the construction[4]. However, in the case of village Mokhe of Adigeni Municipality, the  state evaded to transfer the property to its historic owner, protracted the process without achieving any definite result and made decision to build a new mosque instead. However, as it turned out, the mosque is being built by bypassing all legal requirements.




[1] Letter of Adigeni Municipality City Hall #5906/09 (09/11/2017)


[3]TDI’s analysys of the occurances in Mokhe ;

[4] TDI and EMC applied to the court on Batumi new mosque case