Erdoğan attends opening ceremony of mosque, culture center in US
LANHAM, United StatesTurkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has attended the opening ceremony of a culture center and mosque in the United States, while he was in the country to attend the Nuclear Security Summit.
The Turkish-American Culture and Civilization Center, otherwise known as the Diyanet (Directorate of Religious Affairs) Center of America, which was funded by the Turkish government, was inaugurated by Erdoğan on April 2, in Maryland.
Hailing the beauty of its location near the capital Washington D.C., Erdoğan said the construction of such a massive project made sense.
“Unfortunately, we are going through a rough time all around the world. Intolerance towards Muslims is on the rise not only here in the United States but also around the globe,” said Erdoğan, according to AFP.
“That’s why I believe this center will play a crucial role,” he added, drawing cheers from a crowd of thousands of men, women and children packed behind security barriers.
The complex, the only one in the United States to feature two minarets, was constructed in the style of 16th century Ottoman architecture, with a central dome, half domes and cupolas echoing Istanbul’s Süleymaniye Mosque.
“Terrorism will never have a religion, will never have a nation, will never have a nationality, nor will it ever have a root or ethnicity,” Erdoğan said.
Turkey’s Diyanet head, Mehmet Görmez, said American Muslims should not apologize for terrorists who claim affiliation with Islam, on April 1 at a sermon in the newly built mosque.
“My message to you is that you should continue to hold your head high, with honor and dignity, and don’t be defensive or apologetic for the horrible acts that have been committed overseas by criminals who claim affiliation with your faith,” Görmez told thousands of Muslims gathered at the mosque for Friday prayers.