Mosques are undoubtedly the most clear physical representation of Islam as a religion, principles and values. Basically, the mosque is an ideological manifestation in space, time and matter. This discussion aims to examine the architecture and urban status of contemporary mosques in selected contexts with the Arab and Western communities. I claim that the used to be powerful and dominating image of the mosque is currently subjected to accelerating resistance and rejection. Numerous incidents around the world have showed clearly the volume of such new phenomenon. Ideological conflicts which have been emerged after 9/11 and the declared war against terrorism paved the way for a new perception of Islam and any of its related symbols and icons. The mosque is no exception in this newly constructed western perception which as many researchers argued is based on fear.
The aim is to invite Muslim and non Muslim architects and planners to transcend the typical mosque prototype extensively scattered around the globe. A move from exclusive to inclusive spatial composition of the mosque is urgently needed. Static elements like minarets, domes, prayers hall, Mihrab and mass need to be revisited for constructing a more contemporary and inviting twenty first century mosques. Mosques can be designed as part of a global network of social, cultural and spiritual activities inserted within and blended with global cities and towns. Hence, Mosques design could seek for new creative and innovative tools by which its form, spatial order, functional components, transparency, and communicated meaning can holistically contribute into the diminish of the swiftly accelerating Mosquephobia.
Your insights are highly appreciated
Ali A. Alraouf
i agree upon the fact that Islam - after the insidents like 9/11 and 26/11, is misinterprited by western wrold/media. but going back to our origin same way we have misunderstood masjid, with its functions....its is only a place where believers get together at a certain times offer prayers meet each other and then depart, go back in times when first mosque was built in holy city of medina. look at the largest mosque Al-haram! these mosques are so simple in their beauty.
Ali, I would imagine the reason for any antagonism towards mosques, etc in Western countries is because of the Arabian / Middle Eastern / Asian character of the buildings which acts as a direct visual link to the violence in these same areas.
Given that the faith of Islam covers many countries, cultures and climates then there has been quite a variety of adaptions to existing conditions and therefore these buildings blend in more with the surrounding cultures.
Furthermore, there is the natural and normal underlying fear of one`s native culture and religion being supplanted by something alien (alien as in the true sense of the word, strange and unusual). Sadly, in Britain, this fear is heightened because there is both a decline in the numbers of people who attend Church coupled with a deliberate drive by anti-religious factions to suppress Christianity.