Even though it was near a local high school, it was always a quiet neighborhood in Lanham, MD. That all changed in 2012, when a massive construction project began rising from 16.5 acres of land that had been purchased initially and partially in 1993.
The concept became the Diyanet Center of America (DCA), which opened its doors in 2015. But the DCA, which claims to be the largest Muslim campus in the Western Hemisphere, has made an extraordinary effort to be a part of the community, and after the construction phase ended, it has done its best to blend into the neighborhood.
The DCA was designed and supported by the local Turkish-American Muslim community. It serves as a house of worship as well as a place where Muslims conduct their cultural, social, educational and fitness activities. The DCA also organizes inter-faith programs on the site.
In addition to a mosque, the campus includes a cultural center, auditorium, social hall, cafeteria, library, exhibition halls, as well as a Turkish baths, a swimming pool and fitness center, including a basketball court, guest homes, and an education center. The many worshipers and community members visiting the DCA park in an underground garage.
The mosque is the centerpiece of the center. It was modeled after the style of 16th-century Ottoman architecture. Much of the construction materials and artisans came from Turkey. The weight of the domes is supported by four marble pillars. The mosque is an engineering marvel, from the domes and minarets to the courtyard.
Every item, from Arabic inscriptions to the design of the carpeting has been meticulously planned. The interior of the mosque includes many features that help enhance the prayerful experience.
The DCA welcomes all visitors, whether Muslim or not, to share their vision of a facility that they hope will lead to a greater understanding of their religion and of the Turkish people, and which will foster peace between all.
Most of these photos were taken as part of a Washington Photo Safari outing, led by its founder, E. David Luria. Additional photos can be viewed on my website.