In Islamic architecture, the mosque remains a unique building typology and a physical representation of sacred spatiality. The case of the mosque is rather important since it is not only an Islamic building, but also a physical representation of a governing ideology. It is the place where prayer, the main pillar of Islam, is performed five times a day. Hence, a mosque’s architecture and its urban connectivity is an important factor to consider in the development of any modern city.
This lecture explores the interaction between mosques and their cultural, social and urban significance in Western and Eastern cultures. The world has now entered a new era from the “fear of Islam” to the fear of everything that symbolizes or represents Islam. In recent times, organized campaigns and demonstrations in American and European cities have rejected everything that symbolizes Islam – beard, veil, and most alarmingly, the mosque. "Say no to the mosques," is a slogan written on banners and displayed publicly by thousands of people, in cities around the world.
This lecture will introduce the concept of “mosquephobia," or "fear of mosques”, coined to describe the reaction of groups contesting the design and construction of contemporary mosques, particularly in the Western context.
In the face of growing challenges and a shattered image of Islam regionally and globally, we have a responsibility to shape a different proposition for understanding the value of architecture and urbanism in designing mosques – one which is more relevant to the values and challenges of contemporary times, in both Western and Eastern contexts.
The event will be held in English, with simultaneous Arabic interpretation.
Dr. Ali A. Alraouf,
Professor of Architecture and Urbanism;
Head of Capacity Building, Training and Development,
Urban Planning Department,
Ministry of Municipality and Environment