Rumors that a Qatari delegation will not arrive in Dushanbe to participate in an official opening ceremony of Dushanbe’s Central Cathedral Mosque, which will be Central Asia’s largest mosque, because construction work does not correspond to the project are absolutely baseless. 

Chairman of the Committee on Religious Affairs under the Government of Tajikistan (CRA), Sulaimon Davlatzoda, remarked this at a news conference in Dushanbe on February 10.  

According to him, the official opening ceremony of the mosque has been suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.  “However, it is still unknown when the mosque will open,” Davlatzoda said.

“An official visit of Qatari Emir to Tajikistan for opening of the mosque was supposed to take place last year, but the visit has been postponed by the Qatari side due to the epidemiological situation,” Tajik official noted.  

He further added that Qatari Emir was supposed to attend the official opening ceremony of the mosque because the mosque had been constructed mostly due to funds provided by the Qatari Government.

Recall, Dushanbe’s Central Cathedral Mosque, which will be Central Asia’s largest mosque, was expected to officially open in August last year.  

This US$100 million project has been implemented under direct control of Tajik President Emomali Rahmon.  The Persian Gulf kingdom of Qatar has reportedly put up 70 percent of the cost of the project, with Tajikistan raising the rest.

President Emomali Rahmon began construction of Central Asia’s largest mosque not far from downtown Dushanbe in October 2011, a month after officially raising the country’s flag on a 165-meter flagpole in Dushanbe.  Tajik leader demonstrated a hidden skill when he took control of an excavator to start digging the foundation for the building.

Dushanbe’s Central Cathedral Mosque is located in the area of 12 hectares and in addition to the prayer halls the Mosque also features library, museum and social halls.  

The mosque will be able to accommodate up to 120,000 worshipers.  When completed, Tajikistan will be home to the Central Asian largest mosque, dwarfing the Turkmenbashi mosque in neighboring Turkmenistan, which can hold 10,000 people.

Critics are saying the mosque is an extravagance and that the money would be better spent on poverty reduction.