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Africa’s ‘most beautiful mosque’ opens in February

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A view of the Nizamiye mosque built by a Turkish businessman in Midrand near Johannesburg.Photo credit Hamza Seedat.

By Hassan Isilow

One of Africa’s most beautiful mosques will be officially opening its doors for worshippers in February next year.
The spectacular mosque which has become a landmark in the midrand area of Johannesburg is the brainchild of 74 year old Ali Katircioglu, a prominent Turkish businessman. The site project manager, Orhan Celik, said on Wednesday, that the property owner wanted to initially build the project in America but a friend of his in the States advised him to instead bring the project down to South Africa.

‘‘When Mr. Ali, came to South Africa, he bought this land and decided he would build a mosque, school, shops and a clinic to benefit humanity’’ Orhan said, adding the property owner wanted the project built in elegant Ottoman Empire style.

He said the mosque was built on a similar plan as the Selimiye Mosque in Edirne, Turkey, which is currently a Unesco World Heritage Site.

Orhan said the mosque has already become a centre of attraction around Midrand area. ‘‘On Sundays we receive about 500 visitors who come to tour our
Mosque.’’

He says 10 percent of those who visit are non-Muslims who are generally impressed with the structural design of the building. The extraordinary mosque can be clearly visible on the Pretoria freeway five kilometres before approaching it. While driving on the Pretoria highway you will not miss the sight of the mosques shiny dome, and its four tall minarets measured at 55 meters. Inside the mosque, the high ceiling is designed in beautiful colours-which make it gorgeously attractive. I must admit I have-not seen such a beautiful piece of structural design in Africa. The authentic Turkish calligraphy on the walls is another stunning feature of this mosque.

Shops
On the left side of the property are smartly built shops designed in Turkish architecture. According to the project manager, the shops will sell traditional Turkish goods exhibiting their rich culture. He says there will also be a Turkish restaurant open to all who visit the property.

School
On the right side of the property there is a well built school. Isakh Turan is the schools principal. He says the school will be officially opened on January 16, 2012 and registration is already in progress. Turan says the school will accommodate 850 students. With his vast wealth of experience as an educator who has served in different parts of the world, Turan hopes the school will be a centre of academic excellence. Turkish owned schools are already doing well in Johannesburg. The Sama High school in Mayfair, Johannesburg has consistently produced A-grade matric results and is a well recognised community institution.

Tucan says the world class school will be run with an Islamic ethos.
‘‘Non-Muslim students wishing to enrol in our school are welcome but should observe the rules,’’ said Tucan.

Cemetery
There is also a cemetery in the compound of the property. ‘‘During itkaaf when people are praying in the mosque and they see the cemetery, they will be reminded of death and therefore improve on their imaan (faith),’’ says Ebrahim Atasoy, the imam of the mosque.
The down to earth Ebrahim came to South Africa in July and is currently learning about the South African culture. He was previously an imam of a mosque in Petersburg United States. He also served as a school principal in Albania. The imam is a graduate of the famous Al-Azhar University

©- This article was first published on channel Islam International.
photo credits Hamza Seedat.

Written by africawitness

October 31, 2011 at 5:12 pm

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