The largest mosque in the southern hemisphere, built at a cost of about $24 million, has opened to the public in South Africa. The giant mosque complex built by Turkey, with 55-meter (180-foot) Ottoman minarets towering over a religious centre the authorities described as the largest of its kind in the southern hemisphere.
The complex consists of a mosque, a non-profit clinic, a shopping mall and a school that would cater to about 800 students. The mosque can accommodate 6,000 worshippers. The construction was funded by a prominent Turkish businessman who came to South Africa four years ago.
The South African president expressed belief that the complex will help create greater understanding and tolerance between diverse religions. South Africa’s tourism will also benefit from it, he said.
“We are honoured that members of the Turkey business community have chosen South Africa for this historic complex,” South African President Jacob Zuma as saying at the opening ceremony.
“It will further enhance economic and tourism development between South Africa and Turkey. It will build on the productive diplomatic relations between the two countries,” Zuma said.
The project manager, Orhan Telick, said the complex will be handed over to a South African charity once it is completed.
The mosque will also build on the productive diplomatic relations between South Africa and Turkey that have existed since 1991.
Beyond the economy, Turkey and South Africa share many views on global platforms. The two countries are both members of the G20 and, as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, Turkey has been a prominent voice supporting Africa inside the council.