Grand Mosque of Paris
|Grande Mosquée de Paris|
The Paris Mosque, with its minaret on the left
|Architectural style||Mudéjar style|
|Minaret height||33 m|
The mosque was founded in 1926 as a token of gratitude, after World War I, to the Muslim tirailleurs from France's colonial empire, of whom some 100,000 died fighting against Germany. The mosque was built following the mudéjar style, and its minaret is 33 m high. It was inaugurated by President Gaston Doumergue on 15 July 1926. Ahmad al-Alawi (1869–1934) led the first communal prayer to inaugurate the newly built mosque in the presence of the French president. He was an Algerian Sufi, the founder of the modern Sufi order Darqawiyya Alawiyya, a branch of the Shadhiliyya whose original founder is a Moroccan Sufi.
During World War II (when France and Paris were occupied by Nazi Germany), the rector Si Kaddour Benghabrit managed the mosque to serve as a secret refuge for Algerian and European Jews. He ensured they were provided shelter, safe passage, and fake Muslim birth certificates to protect them from German persecution.
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