the end of the Lebanese Civil War in 1991, the Great Omari Mosque, the central
mosque of Lebanon’s Sunni community, was in ruins as it had been shelled,
burned and looted heavily throughout the 15-year conflict.
In 1994, plans
to renovate and expand the mosque were beginning to materialize as the company
tasked with the reconstruction of the Beirut Central District Solidere, had
begun to take form. Initially, Dar al-Fatwa, the principal Sunni religious
authority presided over by Mufti Mohammad Rashid Kabbani at the time, had very
specific plans to expand the mosque by demolishing the original 800-year old
structure and constructing a new, larger structure instead but lacked the funds
to do so. One of Solidere’s largest shareholders, and the owner of Bank Audi
(Lebanon’s largest bank) Raymond Audi proposed to renovate the mosque as is
while adding a humble, context-aware extension.
proposal was favored by Solidere, as well as Kuwaiti businesswoman Shaikha Suad
Hamad al-Humaizi who agreed to help fund the restoration and expansion in
memory of her parents. Audi commissioned Youssef Haidar, one of Lebanon’s
premier restoration and reconstruction architects for the project. The restored
and expanded mosque was opened to the faithful in 2004.
Rustom, Joseph. "Conceiving Places of Worship in Postwar Beirut: The Cases of Al-Omari and Al-Amin Mosques." Global Prayers - Redemption and Liberation in the City. 2011. Web.
Vloeberghs, Ward. "The Genesis of a Mosque: Negotiating Sacred Space in Downtown Beirut." European University Institute - Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies. Badia Fiesolana, 1 June 2008. Web.
Great Mosque of Beirut (Variant)
al-Omari Mosque Restoration (Variant)
المسجد العمري الكبير (Original)
مشروع ترميم وتوسيع المسجد العمري الكبير (Alternate)
ترميم المسجد العمري الكبير (Alternate)
Restauration et agrandissement de la grande mosquée al-Umari (Translated)
Rénovation de la grande mosquée al-Umari de Beyrouth (Alternate)
Le grande mosquée al-Umari de Beyrouth (Alternate)
Al-Masjid al-Umari al-Kabir fi Bayrout (Transliterated)
Tarmim wa-Tawsi' al-Masjid al-Umari al-Kabir fi Bayrout (Alternate transliteration)
12th c., Originally constructed by the Crusaders as the Roman Catholic Cathedral of St. John the Divine, Converted into the al-Umari mosque by Salah al-Din al-Ayoubi (Saladin), Shelled, burned and looted during the Lebanese Civil War, Restored by Youssef Haidar with funding from Raymond Audi and Shaikha Suad Hamad al-Humaizi