Re-erected minaret in the village of Chela. Photo: Samkhretis Karibche (SKnews.ge) newspaper
A minaret that was forcibly removed by the authorities three months ago from a mosque in the village of Chela of Adigeni municipality was re-erected overnight on Thursday.
The move came just hours after local Muslim community in this village of the Samtskhe-Javakheti region obtained permit from local town council (Sakrebulo) in Adigeni on November 27.
“We have been working for over two months to address legal side of the issue, gathering all the required papers,” Jemal Paksadze, the mufti of the Georgian Muslims' Directorate, told journalists in the village of Chela.
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The minaret in Chela was built in July, 2013. On August 20 Sakrebulo in Adigeni found that the minaret was constructed illegally without having a permit from the local authorities, fined an owner of land where it was erected with GEL 200 and ordered it to be disassembled. On August 26, when police flooded the village and the authorities started the minaret’s removal, accompanied by clashes with local Muslim community, it was thought that the authorities were enforcing Sakrebulo’s decision. But formally the reason for removal of the minaret was a decision by the Revenue Service at the Finance Ministry, which said that the minaret was removed for the purpose of its inspection to verify if the metal construction materials, used for building of the minaret, were properly declared when cargo was imported into Georgia from Turkey in July.