By Alioune Ndiaye
Dakar, Senegal (AA) - Senegal's influential Mouride Brotherhood inaugurated a 30,000-person mosque in the capital Dakar -- claimed to be the largest mosque in West Africa.
Thousands of Muslims from the country's 14 regions attended the Friday prayer, marking the official opening of the mosque at the heart of the Senegalese capital Dakar.
The inaugural prayer was performed in the presence of Serigne Mountakha Bassirou Mbacke, Caliph of the Mouride Brotherhood and other personalities including President Macky Sall and his predecessor Abdoulaye Wade.
"This is not the home of the Mouride community, it is the home of all Muslims, let us unite to give a better image of our religion," Mbacke said after the prayer.
The Mouride, a Sunni brotherhood followed by the majority of Muslims in Senegal, was founded by Senegalese Muslim scholar Sheikh Bamba in 1887.
The place of worship has four prayer rooms and an esplanade, which can host 30,000 people. It also houses an Islamic institute and library.
"Apart from the decoration and the ceiling, all the work was done by Senegalese," Matar Niang, who was responsible for some projects, told Anadolu Agency.
He also said that more than 500 workers took part in the construction of the mosque.
The construction of the mosque cost 25 billion CFA francs ($41 million), raised from financial contributions, according to Mbakiou Faye, who is in charge of the works.
"I salute the national fervor that marks this historic day with the inauguration of the great mosque Massalikul Jinaan, this marvel of Bamba. It is an undeniable symbol of the Mighty followers' power of faith, a victory for Islam and all Muslims," President Sall said on Twitter.
Islam is the predominant religion in Senegal with over 90% of the country's 15 million population.
* Writing by Felix Tih