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Mosque as a Cosmopolitan Construct

Part 2 Dissertation 2022
Zeenat Nadia Firdous
City School of Architecture | Sri Lanka
It is a well-known fact that a Muslim settlement in a certain place and time brings about the need to construct a mosque for congregational prayer.

It is also evident that ‘Muslims of Sri Lanka’ are a heterogeneous community in terms of cultural composition, customs and way of life; a community inseparable from social, economic and ideological conditions of locality yet manage to stay true to their Islamic identity, this ethno-cultural hybridity being the definition of a cosmopolitan community.

The architecture of selected Sri Lankan mosques is observed in the lens of hybridity, in relation to context and community, to identify the emergence of a mosque as a cosmopolitan site. Architectural Cosmopolitanism is seen in three aspects: Contextual, Function and Aesthetic.

The possible decline of the cosmopolitan nature of the mosque over time is hinted at, with the emergence of the "international Mosque". This leads towards questioning the shift as a reflection of the subsequent societies that built and patronized the mosque.

The author discusses how a mosque, in being cosmopolitan, could suggest a way forward for architecture and the community; taking precedence from history, whilst adapting the susceptibilities that modern society presents, in the quest for "sacred tolerance."

Zeenat Nadia Firdous

Zeena Marikkar
Tamara Wjayapala
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