Finnish Islamic Society Imam Khodr Chehab dies in Beirut at age of 48
The Imam of the Islamic Society of Finland Khodr Khaled Chehab died in Beirut last week.
Chehab, who came to Finland in 1987, died just after midnight last Thursday at the age of 48, surrounded by his family - his wife and son.
To a certain extent the Imam’s death came as a surprise, even though he was known to have suffered from a heart condition, said Anas Hajjar, chairman of the Finnish Islamic Council, speaking on Sunday.
Chehab lived in Finland and was a Finnish citizen, but he had a second home in his birth country of Lebanon, where he had travelled last Monday to see his family.
Besides being an Imam, Chehab was also an economist and teacher of Arabic.
Soon after his arrival in Finland Chehab joined the Finnish Islamic Community and began to work on building a moderate Islam in the country.
The Imam led the founding project of a mosque and also gave his support to the establishing of other mosques in various parts of the country.
Currently there are 45 mosques and Islamic prayer rooms in Finland.
Until his last days Chehab also led an Islamic kindergarten. He taught religion to children and older Muslims alike.
Chehab became known to the Finnish public for example as a regular guest to the Independence Day celebrations at the Presidential Palace.
He also gained attention and even caused some controversy with his statements regarding the suitable marrying age for girls.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Islamic justice in Helsinki (4.8.2009)
Finnish Muslims understand indignation over cartoons of Prophet Muhammad (1.2.2006)
Islam in Finland (Wikipedia)