The Nizamiye complex

Tourists will flock

Natashia Bearam

The Nizamiye Masjid has to be experienced first-hand for you to truly appreciate its rich cultural heritage and inspired architecture.
At 90 percent complete its unique design and impressive dimensions have already made it a landmark in Midrand that tourists flock to see. Many are already calling the Nizamiye Masjid a tourist destination however project manager Orhan Celik said it would only be registered as such when it was fully completed toward the end of 2012.
He said on weekends there were already in excess of a 1 000 visitors to the mosque. There are no set times or charges for visits and non-Muslims are welcome to visit the complex. Celik assured that no-one would be turned away. “Usually there are a few employees and volunteers over weekends to assist visitors,” he said. “ They are also able to walk around and spend time there as they wish.”
At this stage there are no formal guided tours. “If people come as groups, volunteers will walk around with them and tell them more about the project, background and aims, etc.”
Besides there being no other mosque of the same scale and architecture in the country, there are additional unique features.  “The complex does not just serve as a site for worship but it will have other functions too,” Celik said. “When the mosque is completed, people will be able to visit the mosque itself, shops, eat at the bakery and restaurant and spend time with family. It will attract more visitors to Midrand and hopefully also contribute to other businesses in the area.”

More than a mosque

Besides offering remarkable architecture and a place of worship the Nizamiye complex will boast other facilities and serve as a community centre.


Nizamiye primary and high school
The Nizamiye School was established by the Fountain Educational Trust (Fet), which is a non-profit Muslim organisation that operates solely for educational and social reconciliation purposes. The Fet presently operates two other schools in South Africa.
The day to day running of the school will fall under the supervision of Turkish principal Isak Turan. Turan moved to South Africa two years ago and was involved with education in Middle Asia for 17 years. He said, “The school will offer a primary and high school; boarding facilities for boys; qualified and committed teachers; fully equipped computer and science labs and Islamic studies which will be part of the curriculum.” While non-Muslim children may be enrolled at the school, which will follow the GDE syllabus, Turan advised that all pupils would be expected to study the Islamic curriculum.
Since its opening in February, 80 pupils have enrolled at the school in grades R, 8 and 9. It has 50 classrooms, accommodates 850 pupils and the boy’s hostel caters for 180 boys. While the primary school is co-ed, the high school is for boys only.  Turan explained the reason for this distinction. “We find that having separate boys and girls high schools results in better academic performance as there are no distractions.”
To enrol at the school visit www.nizamiyeschool.co.za or call 011-024-5857 or e-mail info@nizamiyeschool.co.za

Clinic
Ali Katircioglu, financier of the Nizamiye complex, added a community clinic to the property at the request of Nelson Mandela. Orhan Celik, project manager said, “There isn’t much detail available about the clinic but one significant point is that it was added to the original project at the request of Madiba. Uncle Ali met with Madiba prior to the project and presented the ideas to him, which at that stage included the mosque and school only. Madiba requested that a clinic be added to the complex as he felt it was one of the greatest necessities in the country.”

Market
The bazaar section of the complex has 13 shops is fully let.  The shops will be open to the public and sell predominantly Turkish goods. Celik said, “There will be a bakery, clothing shops for men and women, a barber, a carpet shop and a Turkish restaurant among others.”
The hours of the market have yet to be decided but it will open in September along with the rest of the complex.

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