As relations between the US and Cuba are improving, and economic and political bulwarks are beginning to disintegrate, there has been talk of renewed religious liberties in the Caribbean country. Reports surfaced earlier in 2015 that Cuba‘s first Catholic church to be built since 1959 is set to break ground soon in the rural town of Sandino. Would this perhaps preclude the expansion of religious liberties to other groups? Might this presage the construction of Cuba‘s first mosque?
Over the years, various investors from Qatar, Libya, and private organisations such as the Muslim World League have attempted to supply funding to the Cuban government with the attendant promise to build a public mosque. However, no attempt has been successful. This includes the latest effort by Turkey’s Presidency of Religious Affairs (Diyanet İşleri Başkanlığı) in contestation with another bid from Saudi Arabia. Working with local Cuban Muslim community leader Pedro Lazo Torres (aka Imam Yahya) and said to have backing from President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, this plan too has failed.