Grand Mosque of Paris
|Grande Mosquée de Paris|
The Paris Mosque, with its minaret on the left
|Architectural style||Moorish style|
|Minaret height||33 m|
The Grande Mosquée de Paris (commonly known as The Paris Mosque or The Great Mosque of Paris in English), is located in the 5th arrondissement and is one of the largest mosques in France. There are prayer rooms, an outdoor garden, a small library, a gift shop, along with a cafe and restaurant. In all the mosque plays an important role in promoting the visibility of Islam and muslims in France. It is the oldest mosque in France metropolitan area.
The construction of the mosque began in 1922 and was completed in 1926. The mosque was conceived as a token of gratitude, after World War I, to the Muslim tirailleurs from France's colonial empire, of whom some 100,000 died fighting against Germany. The mosque was built following the Moorish style, and its minaret is 33 m high. It was inaugurated by President Gaston Doumergue on 15 July 1926. The Sufi Sheikh Ahmad al-Alawi led the first communal prayer to inaugurate the newly built mosque in the presence of the French president.
During World War II (when France and Paris were occupied by Nazi Germany), the rector Si Kaddour Benghabrit managed the mosque to serve as a secret refuge for Algerian and European Jews. He ensured that they were provided shelter, safe passage, and fake Muslim birth certificates to protect them from German persecution.
The Grand Mosque of Paris plays an important role in French social society, promoting the visibility Islam and muslims. The rich history of the Grand Mosque serves as an example of the presence and significance of muslims in France throughout history. Furthermore, according to the Arab World's registry of mosques there are only about 121 mosques throughout France, many of which do not exist in permanent constructed spaces. Thus, the existence of the Grand Mosque of Paris carries a lot of meaning.
Today the Grand Mosque of Paris is the largest mosque in France and the third largest in Europe. It is located in the 5th arrondissment in the Latin Quarter near the Jardin des Plantes and the Institut de Monde Arabe. The mosque a popular tourist destination as well as a place of prayer, offering guided tours in French of the building. There are also large Turkish marble baths that visitors can enjoy throughout the week.
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