The Mosque

April 10, 2016

For millions of people, a mosque is a safe haven, a place to worship. But others fear that mosques are a breeding ground for terrorists — especially since September 11, 2001. It's the same building, but has become a marker for so much controversy.

This hour, we wanted to approach the idea of the mosque from the buildings themselves. We talk with architects about the theology of mosque design. We look into the poltics of building a new mosque in America. And we hear the story of Mimar Sinan, the chief architect of the Ottoman Empire.

  1. Mosque Architecture in America

    Maryam Eskandari is a mosque architect and founder of MIIM Designs.  She say most non-Muslims think designing a mosque is full of rules. But it’s not. She told Charles Monroe-Kane that the only rule is you have to point out the direction to Mecca. This is called the marabji.

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  2. Building a Mosque In America

    There's more to building a mosque in America than architecture and theology -- there's also politics. Back in 2004, Malik Ali and Dr. Muhamad Krad teamed up to construct a mosque in Orland Park, just about an hour southwest of Chicago. The two discovered that building a mosque was more difficult than they anticipated.

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  3. The Burj Khalifa, the Tallest Building in the World

    Dubbed a secular mosque for the Arab world, the Burj Khalifa dominates the Dubai skyline. As it should: it's by far the tallest building in the world. It's so tall that during Ramadan, Muslims living on higher floors have to break their fast 2 minutes later than those on lower floors because they see the sunset later in the day.

    Steve Paulson sat down with legendary architecture critic Paul Goldberger to talk all things Burj Kalifa.

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  4. An Architect Under Siege in Syria

    Not all architecture in the Arab world glitters like a golden dome. Some are being shelled to dust by war. Such is the horrifying story of Homs, Syria.  Once a cosmopolitan and tolerant city of more than one million, Homs has hosted clashes between rebel groups and President Bashar Assad’s forces since 2011. Those clashes have mortared and shelled the city into an oblivion. Thousands of residents have been killed. Most of the remaining have fled. But not all.

    Marwa al-Sabouni and her family have stayed. Marwa al-Sabouni has her PhD. in Islamic architecture and wrote a compelling memoir about architecture and destruction in Homs called “The Battle for Home.”

    Marwa al-Sabouni spoke with Anne Strainchamps via Skype from her apartment in Homs, Syria.

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  5. From the Islamic Center of Chicago

    Mazher Shah-Khan speaking from the Islamic Center of Chicago.

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  6. The Architect's Apprentice

    Anne Strainchamps sat down with the great Turkish writer Elif Shafak. Her latest novel, “The Architect’s Apprentice,” is an epic tale set in the height of the Ottoman Empire. It has bloodshed. It was palace intrigue. It has romance. And, yes, it has architecture.

    Shafak’s tale centers around a 16th century mosque architect named Mimar Sinan. Though a character in her novel, Sinan was also a real person – considered to be the greatest architect in the Islamic World.

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