Dubai: New mosque planned in memory of woman who died soon after converting to Islam

The Daria Kotsarenko Mosque will have a floor area of 613 square metres, with a prayer hall for men on the ground floor and a hall for women on the first floor


A Staff Reporter

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The planned mosque.
The planned mosque.

Published: Fri 5 Apr 2024, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Sun 7 Apr 2024, 4:56 PM

In a show of community solidarity and piety, a campaign has been initiated to construct a new mosque in Dubai in honour of Daria Kotsarenko, a Ukrainian expat who recently passed away days after embracing Islam.

Dar Al Ber Society, which runs the Islamic Information Centre where Daria converted to Islam and received the conversion certificate on March 25, is handling the project to build the mosque bearing her name. Her sudden demise is believed to have been caused by a heart attack.

A special link ( was created to collect donations for constructing Daria Kotsarenko Mosque, which will be built on an 812 square metre plot in Dubai.

The mosque will have a floor area of 613 square metres with a prayer hall for men on the ground floor that can hold 208 worshippers. The prayer hall for women will be on the first floor, in addition to ablution rooms for women. A 170-square metre imam's residence and a men's ablution room will also be there. The minaret will have a height of 33 metres.

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As of Thursday evening, April 4, about 13 per cent or Dh515,000 has been collected from the required Dh4 million construction budget.

Hundreds pay respects

Daria had no big family nor relatives in the UAE. But when she was laid to rest, hundreds of people — both Emiratis and expats — turned up to pay their respects.

Daria first came to Dubai three years ago. She showed a genuine curiosity about the local culture and religion. She asked questions and delved deeper into her search for knowledge about Islam. She also explored other cities, and after returning to Dubai, she embraced Islam.

Drawn to Islam

Kotsarenko's close friend, Marwan Husam, who brought her to Dar Al Ber Society's Islamic Information Centre, told Khaleej Times: "Daria was attracted to Islam for many reasons such as modesty, uprightness, rituals, humbleness and piety.

"I believe one of the major aspects that grabbed her attention was the way Islam treats women, as well as their strong family ties and bonds," Marwan noted, adding: "She had been reading religious books and the Quran. She read more than 22 chapters of a translated version of the Holy Book. She knew the difference between halal [what's right] and haram [what's wrong]."

Khadeejah Oskombaeva, a volunteer teacher who works at the Islamic Centre, shared: "Daria came to the centre and embraced Islam, but she passed away while fasting."

Oskombaeva invited Daria to a WhatsApp group to teach her more about the religion, but death seemed to have been faster as she had not yet accepted the invite when she passed away.

On the day of the funeral, which took place in Dubai's Al Qusais Cemetery, Oskombaeva noted a group of local sisters from the Muslim community participated in washing Daria's body in compliance with Sharia and readied her body for burial.

"So many people came for the funeral. I was surprised how people who were total strangers to her, who never saw her, gathered in huge numbers to attend Janaza [prayer of the dead]. Daria's mother and sister were surprised at the turnout and amazed by the public's kindness, unity and generosity," Oskombaeva added.

Oskombaeva said Daria's mother and sister visited the Islamic Centre after the funeral. They were offered return tickets and cash assistance, aside from settling the hospital bill.

'She died pure'

Daria's mother and sister were also invited to join and experience an iftar organised by the Islamic Centre on March 31.

"Her family received condolences from members of the Muslim community, as well as gifts and support, before going home on Wednesday. The mother cried out of gratefulness, saying they had totally changed their mind about Muslims and understood why her daughter Daria accepted it," Oskombaeva shared.

The volunteer teacher noted: "Daria died pure since she had recently declared her Shahada (Profession of Faith) and she did so sincerely. May Allah forgive her and cover all her sins and give her Jannah."


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