Officials in Tajikistan have been promising to build Central Asia’s biggest mosque for years, celebrating each step as if they had already set another Guinness record. Yesterday, they finally broke ground. For the second time, that is.
President Emomali Rakhmon laid a foundation stone back in 2009, the BBC reported at the time, when the project was expected to take five years.
The mosque in the Tajik capital will accommodate 150,000 worshippers, according to press reports, and cost $100 million. Dushanbe will pay $30 million; the rest is financed by Qatar.
The project is part of a large Qatari development that will include luxury-housing towers. Dushanbe’s chattering classes suspect the grand mosque is a sweetener that has allowed the Qataris to proceed with their other building plans. Dushanbe’s luxury building boom, which has cost hundreds of millions of dollars, has done little to alleviate rapidly rising housing prices, RFE/RL reported recently.
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