Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Paris Masjid

I really enjoy going to this masjid, because there is a lot of history here; French , Algerian and personal history for my father's family. It was built in the 1925 in the typical Algerian mosque style. It is located in the 5th arrondissment of Paris, in the south of Paris.
When Algeria was a French colony, this masjid was built to show that Algeria was truly a part of French society and that France had no intention of giving up it's most prized colony. Little did the Frenc know, that this masjid would later represent the Islam of France. At the time when the masjid was built, the first significant wave of Algerian immigration to France was occuring. Most of the immigrants were the Kabyle people (the berbers of the mountainous areas of Algeria) and they quickly became a part of the French workforce. The railroads in Paris and it's suburb were built by these workers, along with many other buildings in Paris. They contributed a large part to the developement of Paris.
The masjid was really the center point of the Algerian community. Many men left their families, wives and children in Algeria, so this was the place were they came together to feel at home and discuss the rise of Algerian politics. Iftar was also served here during Ramadan.
My grandfather immigrated to Paris from Algeria a little bit before the first large wave of immigrants, during that time it was very hard for him because there were very very few Algerians at that time and the working conditions were brutal! He saw the building of the masjid. He prayed in this masjid with his cousins, and later my uncles would pray there as well, so everytime I go I always feel a little attached to this masjid.

Here is the masjid in 1930
Today the masjid offers guided tours for tourists and talks for anyone who may be interested in Islam and it's roots in France.

Here a few pictures from last visit on Friday

The walls surronding the courtyard, are covered with these mosaics

The inside of the prayer room

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