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Ottoman mosques in Africa

One of the most prominent features of the areas that the Turks ruled throughout history, is the establishment of mosques in them.

When the Seljuks entered the Anatolian region, they established in the current state of Kars the “Menu Jahr” mosque in 1073, while the Banu Tulun built the famous mosque after they entered Cairo in 884, in a clear embodiment of Turkish-Islamic architecture.

Ottoman mosques in Africa

Turkish mosques in Africa

Turkish mosques in Africa spread from from Anatolia to Africa, are part of our culture, and bear the same architectural touches wherever they are built, in a step that poses a challenge to the ages.

For the first time, the Turks reached Africa as leaders in the Abbasid army’s rearguard. After invading Cairo, Ahmed Ibn Tulun, founder of the Tulunid empire, erected a mosque that is still standing today.

The Mamluk state founded by the Koman Turks, who ruled Egypt after the Tulunids, also built many monuments that were dominated by the Turkish-Islamic architectural style.

In the 14th century AD, Sultan Hassan bin Muhammad bin Qalawun established the Sultan Hassan Complex in Cairo, which is dominated by the Seljuk architectural style.

The two enormous minarets close to the gate are strikingly comparable to the Anatolian Seljuk schools in the states of Erzurum and Sivas. Furthermore, Turkish mosques in Tunisia and Libya are still visible models that have Ottoman imprints.

In turn, Ozdemir Pasha in the eighties of the 16th century, built the mosque with the only minaret in Ibrim Al-Sudaniya. Although no detailed information is available about it, it gives us an idea of ​​the Ottoman legacy on the African continent.

Ottoman mosques in South Africa

The earliest Christian symbols in South Africa were crosses placed along the shore by Portuguese seafarers. With the establishment of a commercial base on the Cape of Good Hope by the Dutch in 1652, Christianity acquired stable foundations for survival in the area, after which missionary activity started, leading to the growth of this faith among the local people.

In this context, the “white man” was colonizing and exploiting the resources of the local population on the one hand, and spreading Christian beliefs among them on the other hand, believing that it would contribute to their transition to civilization and urbanization.

Following the English occupation of Cape Town, between 1795 and 1806, this imperial Christian tradition continued to exist in the region. However, the pioneers of Muslims who came to South Africa, were able to preserve their religion and beliefs, despite these missionary activities.

The Republic of South Africa, located in the far south of the brown continent, and despite its centuries of colonisation by the West, and never subject to Ottoman control, but it contains dozens of Ottoman monuments and monuments, in an amazing scene, and one of the most prominent reasons for this is the local population’s reliance on the Ottoman state.

The Dutch brought Muslims from Indonesia and the islands of Java in 1957, as slaves, to the Cape of Good Hope. Due to the lack of religious freedom, Muslims divided among themselves into groups, as a result of the spread of false beliefs.

With the abolition of the slave trade in 1834, these Muslims were familiar with the Ottoman Empire and its successor on their Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. Later, in 1856, Muslims in South Africa started work on a mosque at Port Elizabeth, and they petitioned the Ottoman Caliph for aid to finish the mosque via Honorary Consul Rubiks.

Which Sultan Abdul Aziz responded to, and completed the construction of the mosque, which was later renamed the Aziz Mosque, and it is still lofty until now, a symbol of the first Ottoman charitable institution in the far south of the African continent.

In reality, this was the start of a new period in South Africa, when Ottoman funding for the mosque’s construction helped to igniting the sentiments of Muslims there. Abu Bakr Effendi landed to the Cape of Good Hope in 1863 to settle a disagreement between Muslim tribes. The Islamic school he established there helped to strengthen connections between the region’s Muslims and the Ottoman Empire.

Following the death of Abu Bakr Effendi, his students built the Nur Hamidiye Mosque in Cape Town, and the Osman Mosque in Paarl. These mosques became known among the local population as “Ottoman Mosques”, because of the gifts that Sultan Abdul Aziz sent to them.

Among those gifts are prayer rugs to decorate the walls of these mosques, which are still there, according to what Turkish journalist Hikmet Feridun As, who visited the Cape of Good Hope in 1961, tells.

The Hamidiya Islamic Society, through its various activities, maintained strong relations between the Ottoman Empire and the Muslims of the region. Among the most prominent of these activities is the distribution of medals to those who provided aid from there for the Hejaz Railway Project.

Currently, Turkish officials continue to visit Turkish mosques in Africa, during their tour of the African continent.

Mosques are bridges of love

These mosques are still lofty today, preserving the Ottoman heritage, despite their vast distance from the center of the Ottoman Empire, to form bridges of love between Turkey and the people of the areas in which they are located.

Africa is reconsidering Western imperialism on the brown continent, while Ottoman mosques, established with the help of the Caliphate institution, play an important role in separating us from those colonial powers.

While preserving the legacy of our ancestors who were always on the side of the oppressed, Turkish-African diplomacy will rise to the desired level it deserves.

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