Cairo, 2 May 2015 — Mawlana Hazar Imam was in Egypt to attend an event marking the restoration of the 14th century Aqsunqur Mosque. Work on Cairo’s “Blue Mosque” was completed by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture as part of its Al-Darb al-Ahmar Urban Regeneration Programme.
“Through revitalisation of the sort we celebrate today,” said Mawlana Hazar Imam speaking at the inauguration ceremony, “we hope to preserve an extraordinary panorama of Islamic history, from the Fatimid Caliphs to the present.”
“Restoration projects can also serve as springboards — as trampolines — for broad social and economic development and poverty reduction,” noted Hazar Imam. “In that process, they can help create both the human constituency needed to sustain a project and the flow of funding needed to maintain it.”
Egypt's Minister of Antiquities Mamdouh El-Damaty and Governor of Cairo Galal Saeed joined Mawlana Hazar Imam at the event. Earlier in the day, Hazar Imam had met with the country’s Prime Minister, the Honourable Ibrahim Mahlab.
Constructed in 1347 by Amir Aqsunqur, the Mamluk-era mosque only became known as Cairo’s “Blue Mosque” three centuries later, after a restoration in which it was redecorated with blue Iznik tiles. Following a 1992 earthquake, the mosque had to be closed. AKTC began its restoration in 2009.
“At a time when fractures in the unity of the Ummah are so highly visible, I see such projects as particularly hopeful,” said Mawlana Hazar Imam. “They are important symbols for the identity of all Muslims, sources of pride for the entire Ummah.”