The chapter focusses on contestations over the building of two purpose-built mosques in the Copenhagen region: first, the Khayr El-Bareya Mosque with a connected community centre that was inaugurated in 2014, and second the Imam Ali Mosque in 2015. Drawing on intensive ethnographic fieldwork at the time of their opening, the chapter examines how such contestations can be seen as negotiations and politics of identity fought over architectural form and location.

We examine, in particular, how such religious buildings enact an affective power: capable of inspiring feelings of emotional security and sanctuary among their congregation but also powerful feelings of insecurity, anxiety, and hostility among opponents. The chapter is structured in four parts: first, we look at the Danish context, that is, the discursive climate of the public debate around Islam as it has developed from positive curiosity to the imagination of ‘the Muslim’ as a threatening figure; second, we focus on the issue of in/visibility and the paradoxes involved in the concept; third, we analyse the dominant reception of the mosque in politics and in the media involving a double-edged claim of ‘tolerance’; and finally, under the heading of spaces of hope, we discuss where we perceive cracks and paradoxes in relation to the new visibility of Islam in the public space of Copenhagen with its load of identity, ambivalence, hospitality, and hostility.