06 October 2011, 16:22
Tajikistan building Central Asia's biggest mosque
Dushanbe, October 6, Interfax - The construction of Central Asia's largest mosque, capable of accommodating up to 150,000 worshippers at a time, was launched in Tajikistan on Thursday.
The mosque's complex and adjacent buildings will take up an area of 7.5 hectares. It will be crowned by four 65-meter-high minarets. The dome of the mosque will be 47 meters high, the Tajik presidential press service has reported.
The cost of the project has been estimated at $100 million, of which $70 million will be provided by Qatar, and the rest by Tajikistan.
Tajik President Emomali Rahmon attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the mosque. Operating an excavator, he removed the first two buckets full of earth from the foundation pit.
Analysts have described the mosque construction project as an attempt to appease worshippers, who have been complaining of serious restrictions. For example, a president-proposed law banning underage children from visiting churches and mosques came into force in August. The Tajik authorities have also banned the hijab in all of the country's secular schools and universities, as well as administrative buildings. Around 98% of Tajikistan's 7.5-million population describe themselves as Muslims.
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