‘R1.3bn’ mosque complex will promote religious tolerance – Zuma

2012-10-04 15:00
Zinhle Mapumulo
The opening of the largest mosque in Southern Africa, Nizamiye Turkish Masjid, in Midrand will “promote the greater understanding and tolerance between diverse religions” in South Africa, President Jacob Zuma has said.

Zuma officially opened Nizamiye to the public today.

The complex, which consists of a school, clinic, mosque and shops, was built by 75-year-old Turkish construction tycoon Ali Katircioglu.

It is a small replica of the Ottoman Selimiye mosque in Edirne, Turkey.

A staff member at the Nizamiye mosque said it was estimated that the complex could cost up to R1.3 billion on completion.

But, Mehmet Naci Kaya, deputy principal of the mosque could not confirm this. “We have not counted how much it would cost to complete the mosque and we will issue a press release at the end which will have all figures.”
Speaking after the ribbon cutting ceremony, Zuma said: “It will complement our efforts to advance values of religious tolerance and harmony as enshrined in our Constitution.”

Katircioglu thanked the South African government for allowing him to build the Nazimiye complex here, explaining that for three years he had tried to get land where he could build the complex in America with no luck.

“I came to South Africa and it took me a year,” he said.

The Nizamiye clinic and school will be open to the general public. But if your child enrols at the school, he or she will have to observe Islam.