Friday, June 5, 2009

On Sakirin Mosque

It is said that to be Turkey's first modern mosque. To claim this title, it should have made either an artistic or cultural innovation.

Is it indicative of a cultural innovation?:
This mosque did not make any social or religious reforms. It did not breed a new religious subgroup who associates itself with this mosque. The practices are the same as in the other mosques. Women still don't mix with man and they still have to cover up. What difference does employing a female designer make when the religion remains phallocentric?

Fadillioglu says she did not make it too futuristic so that everyone feels welcomed here. She did not want to discriminate. How ridiculous it is to think that the people who go to mosque on daily basis would feel themselves home here! Nothing can appeal to everyone. Such a mosque surely wouldn't appeal to the core religious. I don't expect it to get a big mass. I think it will become the mosque for the ceremonies of the non-religious people who passed away.

Furthermore, it is very cowardly to try to include everyone so that you don't have to deal with opposition. It is a shame to come as far as to build a modern mosque and to fear attaching it to a cultural reform.

Finally, it does not indicate that the government or the public is more open to modernizing religion as it was a privately founded project by the Sakirin Foundation.

Is it indicative of an artistic innovation?:
Is there an artistic innovation to be proud of? Unfortunately, there isn't. You will be very surprised to find out about the artistic faith of this mosque:

It is the second attempt to build a modern mosque in Turkey but the first to actually succeed.

The first one was intended to be Architect VEDAT DALOKAY's Kocatepe Mosque in Ankara. His project was accepted and started in 1967.

However, as its foundations were being laid, the government decided to stop its construction for not conforming to the norms of traditional islamic structure. Instead, they commissioned a conventional mosque by HUSREV TAYLA.

Ironically, Husrev Tayla, the architect of the traditional replacement mosque, was hired to do the Sakirin Mosque. He must have been intimidated by the task of doing a modern mosque as he pretty much borrowed everything from the plans of the Dalokay's Kocatepe Mosque:

Do you see anything new?

Now, do you agree with me that this mosque fails to live up to its claim or not?

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