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Sancaklar Mosque

I’d like to take this opportunity to invite Amre Arolat Architects to build a mosque like the Sancaklar Mosque in Houston! This gorgeous 7,500+ square feet mosque was built in 2012 in Istanbul, Turkey.

The building was designed as a response to the Sancaklar family who wanted to build a mosque on a site overlooking the Buyukcekmece Lake. The design aimed at representing purest forms of light and matter, just as a primary inner world, free from all cultural burdens.

Enjoy photography by Thomas Mayer

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reblogged from Souda

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Photographer Captures Tens of Thousands Fleeing ISIS, Entering Turkey

National Geographic contributing photographer John Stanmeyer, who has covered conflicts around the world, documents the plight of 66,000 Syrian refugees into Turkey who were fleeing the violence and extremism of ISIS. Turkey has received more than 1.2 million Syrian refugees since the beginning of the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, which erupted in spring 2011 and quickly morphed into a vicious civil war that spawned multiple extremist groups, including the Islamic State.

John’s words: “The bizarreness of it all is that this was an influx of many middle class people wandering in wearing slacks and dresses and jackets, even carrying elegant handbags. It’s clearly a group of people that have not migrated like this before. They only brought the clothing on them or a roller, as if they were heading to the airport. Seeing them, I feel like I’m photographing myself, I’m witnessing the reality that can befall upon anyone of us.

Ya Allah! Give us the wisdom and tolerance to make this world a peaceful place!

Up to 5,000 Syrians from Ayn al Arab amass at the border with Turkey on Friday evening, next to the Turkish village of Dikmetas.

Up to 5,000 Syrians from Ayn al Arab amass at the border with Turkey on Friday evening, next to the Turkish village of Dikmetas

A sandstorm hits Dikmetas Saturday afternoon, while thousands of Turkish Kurds amass at the border with Syria to help Syrian Kurds find water and food upon their arrival

A sandstorm hits Dikmetas, while thousands of Turkish Kurds amass at the border with Syria to help Syrian Kurds find water and food upon their arrival

Ahmed, age 5, (right) cries out of fear after crossing into Turkey from Syria with his family Saturday night

Ahmed, age 5, (right) cries out of fear after crossing into Turkey from Syria with his family

Turkish military keep watch at the border with Syria in Dikmetas

Turkish military keep watch at the border with Syria in Dikmetas

Thousands of Syrians from Kobani pour into Turkey on Friday evening. Turkish military personnel cut a hole into the barbed wire fence to allow the thousands of Syrian Kurds to seek safety

Thousands of Syrians from Kobani pour into Turkey. Turkish military personnel cut a hole into the barbed wire fence to allow the thousands of Syrian Kurds to seek safety

Gul, 22, rests with her youngest son, Burhan, who is one, and her other children. They found shelter at an abandoned gas station in the town of Suriç, Turkey, after walking from Karhko, Syria, hours earlier, fleeing the Islamic State

Gul, 22, rests with her youngest son, Burhan, who is one, and her other children. They found shelter at an abandoned gas station in the town of Suriç, Turkey, after walking from Karhko, Syria, hours earlier, fleeing the Islamic State

…in the meantime, we press on other very important, cannot-be-ignored immorality issues such as…is cheese halal (aka kosher)? or…Is it haraam (aka forbidden) for my kid to celebrate Halloween? Can I, as a Muslim, pet a dog?

#EffedUpMoralities

Kudos to Turkey for stepping up…

#WakeUpAndDoSomething

read more at National Geographic

Meet the First Woman To Design a Mosque

As a Muslim woman, I still have a hard time coming to terms with minimal female participation in Mosques (religious temples). In Pakistan where I spent my early childhood years, women hardly attended the mosque. It was the norm so no one questioned. When I moved to the States in my teen years, I was surprised and inspired to see my Christian, Jewish and Hindu female friends so heavily involved in their churches, synagogues and temples. I turned to encourage the same atmosphere in our mosques only to discover the bitter truth. It wasn’t that women were uninterested, it was because they were not encouraged or inspired. Take our mosques, for example. The praying room for men encompasses three-fourths of the area of the mosque. Women are squeezed in the back of the facility within the remaining one-fourth along with screaming children, stinking restrooms and heated kitchen facilities. How do you expect women to participate when mosques are not even designed to welcome them in the first place? Muslim men have debated and pushed back on the idea of female leadership in mosques. “Women can’t lead the jamaat (the prayer)”, “women can’t pray in the same room as men” (mind you, in the House of God i.e. Mecca, we all pray together and there is no such segregation). Besides, I have yet to find a verse in the Quran which supports their sexist judgments but why is it that Muslim men in mosques are so afraid of their female counterparts. Excuse me but women don’t wake up every day conspiring on how to outsmart their male counterparts. We just want to do our best, and you will realize that when we are given the independence to do so, we only flourish and complement you!

So here’s cheers to Zeynep Fadillioglu, a pioneer in her space, the first female to design a mosque proving that Muslim women too can add value to the sacred grounds. Her Sakirin mosque brings an element of modernism to Istanbul’s religious grounds.

Sakirin Mosque, Istanbul Sakirin Mosque, Istanbul Sakirin Mosque, Istanbul

Of course, she had to consult Islamic authorities throughout the construction of the spectacular building, but regardless of religion, every worship space shares a common quality: “Serenity,” she says, “I think when you step inside a mosque, like any other religious building, you leave everything to do with the outside world, outside the door.”

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Fittingly, one of the most thoughtfully conceived features is the position and design of the women’s prayer area. Islamic tradition requires this space to be behind the men’s, and it is often smaller. Yet Fadillioglu’s design for this section is in one of the most striking areas in the dome, perched on the upper level, flooded with light. “But I also decided to make the balcony level one of the most beautiful areas, with the chandelier crystal droplets just in front, and where you can see the mihrab [an alcove pointing towards Mecca] from the best angle,” she explains.

Sakirin Mosque, Istanbul

via architizer