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COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Muslim groups in Aarhus, Denmark's second largest city, say the crisis early this year over published cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad helped them unite behind building of the nation's first multi-community mosque.

Though Denmark has more than 100 Muslim places of worship, there is no proper mosque with a minaret. Chairman Sami Saidana said the Alliance of Islamic Associations in Aarhus tried to build a mosque for years but couldn't surmount community divisions.

Now the city's largest Muslims groups, including Turkish, Arab, Somali and Kurdish communities, have agreed on the project, he said. City authorities back the plan, though they said Muslims must finance construction.

Denmark escaped the violent cartoon protests that occurred elsewhere but Danish Muslims said the crisis showed lack of respect for their religion.

The Aarhus alliance envisions a mosque and cultural center that would cost at least $8.5 million.

Copyright © 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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