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Calls for moderation at opening of Lebanon mosque

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Sunni Lebanese Muslims pray outside Mohammed al-Amin mosque

Picture: (AFP/Ramzi Haidar)

Sunni Lebanese Muslims pray outside Mohammed al-Amin mosque as they attend its opening ceremony and the first Friday prayer in downtown Beirut. Muslim religious leaders, politicians and a crowd of thousands gathered in central Beirut today for the inauguration of Lebanon’s largest mosque, a project launched by assassinated ex-premier Rafiq Hariri.

Calls for unity and religious moderation from Muslim and Christian leaders have marked the opening of Lebanon’s biggest mosque in the heart of the capital.

The inauguration today of the Muhammad al-Amin Sunni Mosque also serves to boost the Sunni community’s place as a major player in the country’s politics.

It comes as Sunni-Shiite tensions continue to simmer after clashes earlier in the year and despite recent attempts at reconciliation.

Built Ottoman style with a sky blue central dome and towering minarets on its four corners, the mosque dominates downtown Beirut’s skyline.

It gained added prominence because of the adjacent grave of slain former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.