Wallonia's largest mosque opens after 10 years of construction

The Kanuni Sultan Süleyman mosque is home to 600 worshippers of all origins.
The Kanuni Sultan Süleyman mosque is home to 600 worshippers of all origins. Copyright Amandine Hess
By Euronews
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A hugely successful grassroots funding effort funded the landmark building, which is designed to have universal appeal.

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The largest mosque in Belgium's Wallonia region has just opened its doors after more than a decade of construction. 

The Kanuni Sultan Süleyman mosque is situated in Liège, and was funded entirely by its worshippers, received no subsidies from the Belgian government or donations from abroad. The full cost of construction came to some €4.5 million.

Covering an impressive 1,300 square meters, this contemporary white complex features a 450-square metre mosque crowned with a dome, albeit without minarets. The mosque can welcome up to 600 worshippers.

Mehmet Aydogdu, Liège's representative of Culture and Interculturalism, described the vision behind the mosque's design, “Our idea was not to make architecture related to Central Anatolia, the Middle East or North Africa. It was to reach universality – therefore a 'Belgitude'”.

Built on a former coal site which has seen many generations of Turkish miners pass by, forged by a 1964 agreement allowing Turkish labor migration to Belgium.

Imam Ertugrul Yilmaz, was born and bread in Wallonia before pursuing his higher education in Turkey, said, "It’s with great pride for me to come back, to be an imam, because I grew up with them. I know them, they know me. We can work together.

“We would like to welcome everyone, do activities together, show that we live together, that we are also Belgian, that we are part of this community.” 

Beyond its role as a place of worship, the mosque complex includes a cultural centre accessible to all, hosting a variety of events such as conferences, educational programs, and communal activities, further promoting dialogue and understanding among diverse communities.

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