Reports say Algeria is building one of the world's largest mosques, partially to serve as a 'blow' to radical Islamists.
The Djamaa El Djazair mosque will be built between an upcoming tourist area and a working class district formerly a bastion for Islamist extremists, the French News Agency (AFP) reported.
"Some have accused us of building a temple for the extremists," Ahmed Madani, an adviser to the minister of housing responsible for the construction, told AFP. " On the contrary, it will be a heavy blow for the extremists. They are the ones hostile to this project."
The mosque complex, estimated at $1.4 billion, will feature a one-million book library, a Quranic school, a museum and the world's tallest minaret at 265 meters. A 20,000 square meter prayer hall will be able to accommodate 120,000 worshipers.
Madani said the new mosque, due to be completed next year, will be an alternative to houses of worship run by Islamists, and serve as "an emblem of moderate Islam in Algeria and a shield against all forms of extremism."