China builds world's third largest mosque for Algeria

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Workers in Algiers started laying foundations Sunday for what should become the world’s third-largest mosque, a one-billion-euro project that will include a dizzyingly tall minaret.

The huge building in the capital Algiers will be built by the China State Construction Engineering Corporation and is expected to create 17,000 jobs — most of them for Algerians. Construction is due to be completed in 2015.

Algeria’s Religious Affairs Minister Bouabdallah Ghlamallah and Chinese ambassador Liu Yuhe attended the foundation-laying ceremony, the official APS news agency reported.

“The construction of this building represents a new landmark in Sino-Algerian relations,” the minister said.

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The mosque complex will include Africa’s tallest minaret, culminating almost as high as the Eiffel Tower at 270 metres (880 feet). It will have 25 levels and eight elevators to whisk observers to the top to view the bay of Algiers.

It will also comprise a prayer room for 120,000 worshippers, a 2,000-seat library, an art museum and a research centre.

The Grand Mosque or Masjid al-Haram is the largest mosque in the world. Occupying 990 acres, it is located in the city of Mecca and surrounds the Kaaba, the place which Muslims worldwide turn towards while offering daily prayers and is Islam’s holiest place. Including the outdoor and indoor praying spaces, it can accommodate up to four million Muslim worshippers during the Hajj period, one of the largest annual gatherings of people in the world.

The second biggest mosque in the world is said to be the Al-Masjid al-Nabawi “Mosque of the Prophet”), often called the Prophet’s Mosque. It is a mosque situated in the city of Medina. As the final resting place of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, it is considered the second holiest site in Islam by both Shia and Sunni Muslims.