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R1.3bn mosque and varsity complex

ROSHAN NEBHRAJANI
28 May, 2012 00:11



The Nizamiye Mosque in Midrand north of Johannesburg. This mosque is the largest in the Southern Hemisphere.
Image by: HALDEN KROG


The largest mosque in the southern hemisphere has risen in Midrand at the will of 75-year-old Turkish construction tycoon Ali Katircioglu.

Hoping to leave a legacy in South Africa, "Uncle Ali", as he is popularly known, has already spent more than R210-million on the new Nizamiye mosque and community complex, and has no plans for slowing down.

"Everyone wants to leave something greater before dying. If you look at the richest men in history, they're often forgotten. But if you're rich and you leave something that helps people, you will feel their prayers long after you are dead," the Turkish-speaking Katircioglu said yesterday.

The estimated cost of the entire project, including a Muslim university, is R1.3-billion. But Katircioglu could not give an exact figure because he had "stopped counting a long time ago".

During the planning stages, Katircioglu travelled back and forth between Turkey and South Africa. When construction started in October 2009, he moved to South Africa with his wife to oversee the project in person.

Katircioglu had planned to build the mosque in the US. But after failing to find a suitable site and being obstructed by the bureaucracy he brought the project to South Africa.

The mosque, which is at the centre of a 52ha complex, is a scaled-down replica of the Ottoman Selimiye mosque in Edirne, Turkey. The massive dome atop the building has the same pale-blue hue and is adorned with four identical minarets on each corner.

At the centre of the outdoor plaza lies a whudu, a small bathing area where devotees can wash before namaaz or ritual prayers.

The interior is where the real treat lies. Painted in gold, Arabic prayer calligraphy and ornate flowers completely cover the ceiling of the 31m-high dome.

The design is reflected on the carpet directly beneath it, creating a central symmetry throughout the building.

Tiles hand-painted with colourful flowers line the walls.

The building has two storeys to enable men and women to pray separately - women on the balcony and men on the carpeted floor.

The mosque can accommodate 6000 worshippers . Though it has yet to have an official opening, prayers are held there five times a day. On Fridays, it is filled to the brim, requiring extra carpeting to be laid down outside.

But one need not follow Islam to visit the mosque.

"We want everyone to feel welcome and visit. You can wear what you want, look how you want but we all have the same heart," Katircioglu said.

The mosque is surrounded by a community complex, which is still under construction. Originally, Katircioglu had planned only to build a shopping centre and a primary school at which children could live and study, but those ambitions have since been greatly expanded.

After meeting former president Nelson Mandela, who suggested that he add a clinic, Katircioglu worked on creating a low-cost clinic. He also decided to extend the plot to build a Muslim university.

The shopping centre, clinic and primary school are scheduled to be completed and officially opened by mid-September at a ceremony expected to be attended by President Jacob Zuma.

The university will take a bit longer to complete.


http://www.timeslive.co.za/local/2012/05/28/r1.3bn-mosque-and-varsity-complex
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·

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Requiscat en pace
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It's beautiful! A bit of Middle Eastern charm in our backyard <3
 

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Afritect
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those pictures don't do it justice , its freaking massive , very similar design to the one in turkey forgot the architects name
 

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Karoo Prime
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Mach'Allah! Very similar in style to the Sultanahmet Cami, Yeni Cami and Suleymaniye Cami in Istanbul.
 

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Really impressive. Where else in the world can we visit a buddhist temple,a Russia Orthodox Church and a turkish style mosque in one city.
 

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2cloudsabove9
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Really impressive. Where else in the world can we visit a buddhist temple,a Russia Orthodox Church and a turkish style mosque in one city.
not to mention a mormon temple and an indian temple and a jewish temple---any ohter religious structures I have missed?
 

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^^ yeah or the "religious intersection" in downtown Durban with the Cathedral, Mosque and Temple facing each other basically.

This is really impressive, does it look out of place in the area though?
 

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Karoo Prime
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I would much like to visit it, inch'Allah.
 

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Requiscat en pace
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I'm thinking of doing a pilgrimage to Midrand.
 

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^^Lol, Why do Medina and Mecca, when you can just as easily do Midrand?
 
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