EU Islam

Islamic Culture in Europe

The Great Mosque of Paris

La Grande Mosquee de Paris is situated in the vibrant and historic Latin Quarter in Paris and is one of Europe’s largest mosques. Built in beautiful traditional Islamic style with a 33 metre high minaret, the mosque acts as not only a prayer and Islamic education centre but also as a high profile tourist attraction and is fundamental to the education of the local French population on the customs and practises of France’s Muslims.

History and architecture

Built in the years following WW1 by the French government in gratitude to the around 100,000 French colonial subjects (mainly from the Maghreb) who fought and died for La Patrie in the Great War. Its internal architecture is splendour, with beautiful mosaiques, carvings and tapestries many of which have been gifts to the mosque from political and religious leaders the world over. One particular piece of note is a large Persian carpet, a gift from Reza Pahlavi, Shah of Iran.

A private garden within the mosque provides an atmosphere conducive to quiet reflection and meditation, with architecture inspired by Moorish Spain – fountains, white marble and fragrant flowers – leads to a conference facility where the mosque holds classes and meetings. The minaret imposes itself over the mosque and calls the faithful to prayer from dawn to dusk.

Purpose

The leaders of the mosque welcome visits from school children and tour groups, and maintain an active role in the Parisian Islamic community. Situated in an area historically associated with learning and home to the Muslim Institute, the mosque is an example of an ‘Islamic pearl’ whose minaret serves as a reminder to the Parisians of Islam’s place in French modern history.

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