DAKAR - A majestic new mosque that took nearly a decade to build is holding its first afternoon prayers today, in the Senegalese capital, Dakar.

Billed as the largest mosque in West Africa, the building and its grounds have a total capacity for 30,000 people - 10,000 inside and 20,000 within grounds.

Senegal’s President Macky Sall is expected to be in attendance for the inauguration.

The mosque is named, Massalikul Jinaan, meaning 'The Paths to Paradise.'

Its main building boasts five minarets, features a gold-leaf dome and decorations by Moroccan craftsmen.

The mosque, built at a cost of over $32m, was funded by the influential Mouride Sufi brotherhood, considered to be a pillar of Senegal's reputation for religious
tolerance.

The mosque is regarded as a symbol of the Mourides' economic power, after years of significant political and cultural influence. In a country where 90% of the
population is Muslim, this architectural achievement calls for celebration.(FA)