Preparations are in full swing for the grand official opening of the Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Mosque at the Aizariya area in the eastern suburb of Jerusalem, which will be the biggest mosque in Palestine after Al Aqsa Mosque.
The six-floor iconic mosque is funded and overseen by the Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation, and it is considered to be the largest mosque built in Palestine in terms of size and capacity after the Al Aqsa Mosque. Stretching 6000 square metres, the religious project is part of many U.A.E. vital projects in Palestine in general and in the occupied Jerusalem in particular, which also cover aid programmes, building schools, homes, hospitals, women's centres, orphans and special needs shelters and other development projects for the benefit of the Palestinian people.
Sheikh Yusouf Daibes, Palestinian Minister of Endowments, said the grand mosque, named after U.A.E. President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, had been the focal point of the Palestinian official and popular circles, being a signature landmark reflecting the U.A.E.'s assistant and support for the Palestinian people.
'The holy city of Jerusalem has been and is still receiving unprecedented care from the U.A.E. since the era of the late founding father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and then his successor President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa. The U.A.E. is implementing many developmental, humanitarian and charitable projects in the holy city in support of its people,' he added.
Adnan Al-Husseini, Minister of Jerusalem Affairs, said the construction of the Sheikh Khalifa mosque revives hopes that the Islamic Nation was striving to protect its holy shrines from Judaisation and demolition.
He noted that the location of the mosques would make its easily accessible to more than 100,000 Palestinians living in the surrounding towns and villages.
Engineer Samir Qirsh of the contracting company said the mosque is built on a large area of land which is located on a hill underpinning the construction and overlooking the main sectors of Jerusalem and Al Aqsa Mosque. Its two minarets rise to a height of 75 metres so that the eastern walls of Al Aqsa mosque are seen.
He added that the Sheikh Khalifa mosque was designed to accommodate 6,000 worshipers (men and women) on its first and second floors. The first floor is for males and can accommodate 4,000 worshippers while the second floor is for women and accommodates 2000 worshippers.
The area for men is 1,650 square metres while the second floor for women covers an area of 1,000 square metres. The grand mosque has two entrances for men, one to the east and another to the west, while the women's entrance is separate.
The mosque houses a centre for memorisation of the Holy Quran, a public Islamic library and will have a health centre affiliated the Maqasid Charitable Hospital in Jerusalem in the future.