Dubai: Non-Muslim’s mosque plan among winners in design contest

The top design in the competition will be used as a model to build a mosque on Pearl Jumeirah

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Sahim Salim

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Anna De Sa from Brazil
Anna De Sa from Brazil

Published: Mon 25 Dec 2023, 2:32 PM

Last updated: Tue 26 Dec 2023, 8:51 AM

A non-Muslim student is among the winners of a mosque design competition held in Dubai. Anna De Sa from Brazil won the third place in the contest that challenged students to build the ‘most beautiful mosque’ on the Pearl Jumeirah Island.

De Sa’s oval-shaped mosque design is inspired by Prophet Nooh’s ark — a ship that features prominently in both Quranic and Biblical narratives.

According to a senior official at the Department of Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities in Dubai (IACAD), the win signifies the cultural diversity and values of coexistence prevalent in the UAE.

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Emirati student Fatima Al Sada bagged the first place in the contest. The UAE national will see her design implemented as a mosque on the Pearl Jumeirah. “We have found a donor to build the mosque,” Nirmeen Abu Lughad, chief engineer at the IACAD, told Khaleej Times.

Al Sada’s design features sustainable elements and puts the mosque right in the middle of a green haven.

Palestinian student Nidal Al Ashhab won the second place for a design that’s inspired by traditional Bedouin tents. Bedouins, the oldest inhabitants of the Arabian desert, are nomadic desert-dwellers known for their hospitality and resourcefulness.

Al Ashhab’s design also incorporates elements from the sand dunes.

The IACAD honoured the three winners in a ceremony recently. Dubai Holding offered cash prizes of Dh20,000 to the first-place winner, and Dh15,000 and Dh10,000 to the second and third, respectively.

According to Nirmeen, the other two mosque designs could be implemented in other Dubai Holding projects.

The official explained that the IACAD had held a workshop for second-year engineering students at the American University in Dubai (AUD). Students were given a real plot of land on the manmade island to work on. The Islamic department briefed them about the standards and requirements implemented at mosques in Dubai.

Many students submitted designs, of which 10 were shortlisted. A jury consisting of members from the IACAD, Dubai Holding and the AUD selected the winning designs.

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