Residents of historic island in Africa seeks Turkish help with mosque
The only mosque located on a UNESCO-protected island off Dakar, the capital of Senegal, is waiting for a helping hand from Turkish authorities to increase its capacity and its restoration.
The mosque, built in 1825, one of the country’s oldest buildings, is the only place of worship on the tiny island, Goree, and is known for its centuries-long role in the Atlantic slave trade.
The story of the mosque began when a Christian local named Silmane Ngom made his new-built home available to Muslims, a small community on the island at that time.
During the French West Africa period, it took about 40 years for the few Muslims on the island to convert the building from a hut to a mosque.
The ruined building, reinforced with volcanic basalt stone, was officially opened for worship in 1892.
Although the mosque, with a capacity of nearly 100 people, was in danger of collapse due to coastal erosion, it managed to survive thanks to the stone wall built by the people as a temporary solution.
But now, residents of the island want the historic mosque restored with Turkish help, as currently, it is insufficient to meet local Muslims’ needs.
Augustin Senghor, the Mayor of Goree, also pointed out that the mosque could no longer withstand coastal erosion and asked Turkey to help with its restoration.
“I especially call on Turkey to protect this historical mosque. Its capacity is very insufficient, especially on Fridays,” Senghor said, adding that the structure urgently needs maintenance.
The people of the island also reached the Turkish ambassador of the time, Nihat Civaner, in 2018 and demanded the mosque’s restoration from the Turkish authorities.
On the island of Goree, where about 1,800 people live, three-quarters of the population is Muslim.