Special group to examine Muslim-Christian disputed building in Mokhe

One of the roles of the commission will be informing of Christian and Muslim population of Mokhe village. Photo by Liberali
Agenda.ge, 02 Dec 2014 - 18:24, Tbilisi,Georgia

A special group has been established to examine religious conflict surrounding a building in a southern Georgian village that has historical importance for Christians and Muslims.

The 11-person commission will examine the history of the building in Mokhe village in the Adigeni region, which has been a topic of intense dispute between the local Christian and Muslim population. 

The building was once a Christian Church and later a Mosque. Current plans were to turn the building into a library for all to use but this too generated criticism.

The decision to establish a commission was made today at a Religious Affairs Agency meeting, which was attended by the village’s Christian and Muslim religious’ figures. 

Agency chairman Zaza Vashakmadze, who will also lead the commission, said the group was composed of representatives from the two religions as well as employees of Georgia’s Monument Protection Agency and members of regional and local governments. 

The Agency also noted the Cultural Protection Agency should specify the priority areas where the commission should direct its focus to effectively and timely resolve the ongoing dispute. The next commission meeting will be held on December 27.

Vashakmadze announced one role of the commission was to ensure the Muslim and Christian residents of the village were adequately updated with information to avoid the situation escalating further.

Clashes between the religious groups began in October, 2014. At the time the Muslim population claimed the building was formerly a mosque and it could not be used for another purpose, while the local Christian population supported the local government’s decision to turn the building into a library for the whole village to use. Currently construction of the library has been suspended.