Brazilian student shines: Unique Mosque design celebrates cultural harmony in Dubai

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DUBAI, Dec 25: In the Dubai mosque design competition, one of the victors is a non-Muslim student. Anna De Sa, hailing from Brazil, secured the third position in the challenge that tasked students with constructing the ‘most beautiful mosque’ on Pearl Jumeirah Island.

De Sa’s winning design for an oval-shaped mosque draws inspiration from Prophet Nooh’s ark, a notable ship featured prominently in both Quranic and Biblical narratives. According to a senior official at the Department of Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities in Dubai (IACAD), this triumph highlights the cultural diversity and values of coexistence prevalent in the UAE.

Anna De Sa

The first-place honor went to Emirati student Fatima Al Sada, whose design will be actualized as a mosque on Pearl Jumeirah with the backing of a donor, as confirmed by Nirmeen Abu Lughad, chief engineer at the IACAD, to Khaleej Times. Al Sada’s design not only incorporates sustainable elements but also positions the mosque within a lush green sanctuary.

Securing the second position is Palestinian student Nidal Al Ashhab, whose design draws inspiration from traditional Bedouin tents. Known as the oldest inhabitants of the Arabian desert, Bedouins are nomadic dwellers recognized for their hospitality and resourcefulness. Al Ashhab’s design also integrates elements inspired by the surrounding sand dunes.

Recently, the IACAD recognized the achievements of the three winners in a ceremony. Dubai Holding presented cash awards of Dh20,000 to the first-place recipient, and Dh15,000 and Dh10,000 to the second and third winners, respectively.

Nirmeen shared that the other two mosque designs may find application in various Dubai Holding projects. The official clarified that the IACAD conducted a workshop for second-year engineering students at the American University in Dubai (AUD), providing them with an actual plot of land on the manmade island to develop their designs. The Islamic department briefed the students on the standards and requirements applicable to mosques in Dubai.

Numerous designs were submitted by the students, and out of those, 10 were shortlisted. A jury comprised of members from the IACAD, Dubai Holding, and the AUD meticulously selected the winning designs.

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