An avant-garde mosque in central Tehran which is due to be opened to the public in the next few months, lacks traditional rounded domes and towering minarets; instead, it is made of gray stone and concrete.
An editorial published on the non-governmental Iraqi news website Mashregh has accused the authorities of “treason” for approving the construction of the avant-garde Vali-e-Asr mosque in Tehran.
The article claimed that the curvature of the mosque resembles that of a Jewish yarmulke and that the building’s “completely neutral” design allegedly betrays an “atheistic approach.” Yarmulke, or kippah is a small cloth cap worn by Jewish males.
One of the architects of the mosque, Reza Daneshmir, in turn explained that they had decided to opt for a modern design of gray stone and concrete instead of constructing traditional domes and minarets.
According to him, Tehran’s city officials first said the building did did not resemble the conventional form of a mosque, and that “it couldn’t be done”.
“I explained who the real audiences of this mosque are [and] I finally succeeded in persuading them. We wanted it to be an avant-garde project, not a conservative and backward one,” Daneshmir said, in an apparent nod to young Iranians who are the Vali-e-Asr’s permanent frequenters.
Located in a popular shopping area near Tehran University, the 25,000-square-meter (270,000 sq. feet) Vali-e-Asr mosque includes its own library, reading halls, classrooms and an amphitheater.
A whopping 16 million dollars was allocated for the 10-year construction of the mosque, which is scheduled to open its doors to the public in the next several months.
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