CBN                  Maryland Mosque To Play ‘Crucial Role’ For DC-Area Muslims

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has officially inaugurated a mosque in Maryland, near Washington, D.C.

The ceremony for the mosque complex known as The Diyanet Center of America happened last Saturday, April 2 in the small town of Lanham.

According to Agence France Presse (AFP), Turkey spent $110 million to build the mosque on U.S. soil. 

Erdogan expressed appreciation for its location near the U.S. capital.

“Unfortunately, we are going through a rough time all around the world,” said Erdogan. “Intolerance towards Muslims is on the rise not only here in the United States but also around the globe.”

“That’s why I believe this center will play a crucial role,” he continued, evoking cheers from the thousands in attendance.

“Terrorism will never have a religion, will never have a nation, will never have a nationality, nor will it ever have a root or ethnicity,” Erdogan said.

“It is unacceptable for the Muslims of the world to be forced to pay the price of the horror and pain created by a handful of terrorists in the aftermath of 9/11,” he continued.

AFP reports President Obama declined an invitation by Erdogan to attend the ribbon cutting.

The Diyanet Center houses a mosque, cultural center and Turkish bathhouse.

Erdogan supported the mosque as a way to serve the area’s entire Muslim community, not just Turks, according to NBC Washington News.

“President Erdogan advised us to build a larger community, which could not only serve the needs of the Turkish Muslims, which are very few anyway, but also serve the entire Muslim community and go beyond and become an intercultural center for the other communities,” Dr. Ahmet H. Aydilek, a Diyanet Center spokesman and professor at the University of Maryland, College Park, said.

The Diyanet Center sits on 16 acres owned by the Turkish government and the Turkish American Community Center. The latter is a nonprofit organization that has been in the D.C. area for 23 years.

Before The Diyanet Center opened, the area was home to offices and a prayer area.

Even though the grand opening took place last Saturday, the center has been open since June 2015.