A majestic new mosque that took nearly a decade to build is held its first afternoon prayers today, Friday 27th, September, in the Senegalese capital, Dakar.
Billed as the largest mosque in West Africa, the building and its grounds have a total capacity of 30,000 people – 10,000 inside and another 20,000 in its grounds.
Senegal’s President Macky Sall is expected to be in attendance for the inauguration.
The mosque’s name, Massalikul Jinaan, means The Paths to Paradise.
A young Senegalese lady, Marianne Seck Tall was the engineer who handled the project. She graduated from the Ecole Polytechnique in Dakar with a degree in civil engineering.
The main building boasts five minarets, features a gold-leaf dome and decorations hand-drawn by Moroccan craftsmen.
Its construction costs are believed to have exceeded $32m.
It was built by the influential Mouride Sufi brotherhood, considered to be a pillar of Senegal’s reputation for religious tolerance.
Some believe the mosque is a symbol of the Mourides’ economic power, which over the years has helped them gain significant political and cultural influence.
In a country where 90% of the population is Muslim, this kind of architectural achievement is a cause for celebration to many.