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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Algeria Inaugurates Africa’s Largest Mosque

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Algeria celebrated the grand inauguration of the Great Mosque of Algiers, Africa’s largest mosque, marking the culmination of a project marred by political upheaval, delays, and cost overruns. The monumental structure, situated on the Mediterranean coastline, stands as a testament to Algeria’s architectural prowess and religious heritage.

Algeria Inaugurates Africa's Largest Mosque

Constructed by a Chinese construction firm over the course of the 2010s, the Great Mosque of Algiers boasts several impressive features, including the world’s tallest minaret towering at 869 feet (265 meters). With a prayer room capable of accommodating 120,000 worshippers, it ranks as the third largest mosque globally and the largest outside Islam’s holiest cities.

The mosque’s modernist design integrates Arab and North African elements, paying homage to Algerian tradition and culture. Additionally, it features amenities such as a helicopter landing pad and a library capable of housing up to 1 million books.

Algeria Inaugurates Africa's Largest MosqueAli Mohamed Salabi, General Secretary of the World Union of Muslim Ulemas, emphasized the mosque’s significance in guiding Muslims “toward goodness and moderation,” underscoring Algeria’s commitment to promoting a moderate brand of Islam following years of internal strife.

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President Abdelmajid Tebboune presided over the inauguration ceremony, fulfilling his pledge to open the mosque with great fanfare. While the event was largely ceremonial, it marked a significant milestone for Algeria as the mosque officially opened its doors to the public ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

However, the Great Mosque of Algiers’s journey to completion was fraught with challenges and controversies. Over its seven-year construction period, it faced numerous setbacks, including seismic concerns raised by experts regarding its chosen site. Despite official denials, allegations of corruption and mismanagement plagued the project, fueling public anger and skepticism.

AlgeriaOriginally conceived by former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika as his legacy project, the mosque’s completion was delayed due to political turmoil that engulfed Algeria in 2019, leading to Bouteflika’s resignation after two decades in power. The mosque, once envisioned as the “Abdelaziz Bouteflika Mosque,” now stands as a symbol of Algeria’s resilience and determination to move forward despite its tumultuous past.

As Algeria embraces its newest architectural marvel, questions linger about the true cost and legacy of the Great Mosque of Algiers. While its imposing presence commands attention, its journey from conception to completion serves as a reminder of the complexities and challenges inherent in realizing ambitious national projects.

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