181128 grand mosque 21
Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: The Shaikh Zayed Grand Mosque, a symbol of Islam that embodies the message of peace, tolerance and diversity, welcomed 4,480,000 visitors from 249 nationalities in the first half the Year of Tolerance, according to the half-yearly statistics released by the Shaikh Zayed Grand Mosque Centre (SZGMC).

According to the statistics, there were 967,150 worshippers among the visitors.

The report noted that Asia topped the visitors list with over one million, followed by Europe with more than 623,000, North America with 95,000, Africa with more than 53,000, South America with 49,000 plus and Australia with 25,000 while 2,178 visitors were from Antarctica.

Nationality-wise, the statistics indicated that India led the list of the 10 countries with a tally of 392,246, followed by China with 335,530, Russia with 116,467, Germany with 102,285, France with 74,606, the United Kingdom with 63,676, United States with 60,209, Pakistan with 57,185, Italy with 44,787 and the Philippines with 43,229.

According to the figures, March registered the highest footprint, with 511,227 visitors.

“From January to June, 82 per cent of the mosque visitors were tourists and 18 per cent were residents,” the statistical report added.

Women were the most frequent visitors to the mosque, accounting for 53 per cent of the total tally.

Most visitors came from the age group of 46 years and above, constituting 31 per cent of all visitors.

During Ramadan, more than 890,000 Muslims broke their iftar in the mosque’s air-conditioned tents.

Over the first six months of the year, the SZGMC conducted 1,726 free-guided cultural tours. Tours are led by official SZGMC guides who take visitors and other members of the public around the mosque explaining various elements of the architecture and Islamic culture.

The e-guide which informs visitors about the iconic landmark in 11 languages was used by 17,329 visitors.

The outstanding Islamic architecture of the mosque has attracted many prominent local and international media outlets. The SZGMC has received over 76 requests for coverage from the UAE, the US (CNN and ABC TV channels), Channel 7 Australia, Belgium TV, Armenia TV, Egypt TV, Daily youm7 of Egypt and the UK’s University of Oxford.

The SZGMC, an affiliate to the Ministry of Presidential Affairs, enjoys the support and the follow up of Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs. It was established to represent a cultural and intellectual platform formed on the combined basis of cultural and national values. It serves as an iconic masterpiece reflecting the concepts and values of the late founding father, Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, deeply rooted in the sentiment of the nation, and constitutes an extension of the doctrines of the tolerant Islamic religion, and the core values that form UAEs national identity.