- Anti-money laundering : Troika distorted ‘dirty money’ findings
- our view : Our View: Anastasiades giving more ammunition to opponents of a...
- attempted murder : Woman stabbed in the back in Ledra Street shop
- Cyprus : Efforts to keep provident fund haircuts as low as possible
- bank of cyprus : Cyprus Today
- Barrosso : Barroso: all available resources mobilised to help Cyprus
- Cyprus : ‘Cyprus now on the energy map’
- Cyprus : DISY deputy tables simple health-care solution
- Ayios Dometios : Packs of stray dogs roaming Green Line
- cabinet : Green light expected for net metering
‘Criminal damage’ to mosque’s walls
OFFICIALS yesterday condemned the “criminal damage” caused to an 18th century mosque in Denia village on Sunday night.
Police are taking statements from Denia villagers as part of investigations into reports that perpetrators demolished the north and south walls of the mosque in Denia. One person was being questioned last night, reports said.
Restoration work on the mosque had only begun earlier this month.
Visiting the site of the old mosque, Presidential Commissioner Giorgos Iacovou hinted the destruction of the mosque walls was clearly a premeditated act.
“This is a criminal act with many consequences. It is an attempt to hurt bicommunal cooperation on the protection of Cyprus’ cultural heritage,” he said.
Iacovou noted that such acts would not go unnoticed abroad, adding that the majority of cultural heritage preservation work was funded by the EU.
Member of the bicommunal technical committee on cultural heritage Takis Hadjidemetriou said the restoration work of the 18th century mosque was “part of a series of works on mosques and churches” across the island.
The damage caused to the mosque walls was “a blow for all the cultural heritage of Cyprus”, he said.
The community leader of Denia village Christakis Panayiotou expressed regret about the destruction of the mosque, saying: “We respect all religions. And it is with sadness that we note this occurring in our village, because we want to have good relations with our Turkish Cypriot compatriots.”
Archbishop Chrysostomos II expressed his “sadness and unequivocal condemnation” of the attempted demolition of the mosque. In a written statement, he hoped that the authorities apprehend the perpetrators of this “sacrilegious act” and bring them to justice, adding that he hoped it didn’t undermine the climate of respect and peaceful coexistence between Christians and Muslims of Cyprus.
The EDEK party yesterday called for an immediate investigation into the incident so those who may be responsible are brought to justice.
EDEK deputy Fidias Sarikas said respect for places of religious worship is the obvious duty of every citizen of the Cyprus Republic.
Last month, the technical committee on cultural heritage announced the start-up of emergency measures at various sites, starting with restoration work on the mosque at Denia.
The focus was put on emergency measures to prevent further damage to the building which was already in a precarious condition, an announcement said.
The work included a general cleaning of the mosque and the courtyard, removal of loose parts, consolidation of the internal arch and improvement of the courtyard fence. The works were expected to be completed by early March 2013, but that was before two walls were knocked down.
Steps are also being taken for similar measures on the Prophet Elias Church in occupied Filia, and other monuments in the north.
Additional cultural heritage sites were also earmarked for similar interventions in the months to come, all funded by the EU and implemented by UNDP-Partnership for the Future in collaboration with the bicommunal technical committee.
The committee’s aim is to protect and preserve the island’s rich cultural heritage, the statement said.
The apparent vandalism of the mosque in Denia will come as a blow to this delicate effort.
This is not the first time the small village on the outskirts of Nicosia has been in the news.
Back in May, 2012, Denia village was evacuated so authorities could defuse a bomb harking back to the 1974 Turkish invasion, which was discovered lying at the bottom of a dry well.
School children and teachers were moved to the nearby village of Mammari when the discovery was made.
Two days later, the residents asked authorities to look for the remains of a mortar explosive believed to have been buried under a building in 1974, though explosives’ experts were only able to find “some very rusty remains,” Panayiotou said at the time.
Last October, heavy rain triggered a UN search for mines in the buffer zone near Denia that may have been carried away by a torrent in the occupied areas.