Maryland Mosque opens its doors to the faithful (Photos)

the Diyanet Center of America’s mosque on April 1, 2016 in Lanham, Md. The official opening for the Turkish cultural center is on Saturday April 2, 2016. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected to speak at the event. (WTOP/Omama Altaleb)
The official opening for the Diyanet Center of America in Lanham, Md. is Saturday April 2, 2016. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivered remarks at the event. (WTOP/Omama Altaleb)
Muslims attend the Friday afternoon prayer, Salat al Jumma, at the Diyanet Center of America’s mosque on April 1, 2016 in Lanham, Md. (WTOP/Omama Altaleb)
Men line up in prayer on Friday April 1, 2016 at the Diyanet Center of America’s mosque in Lanham, Md. (WTOP/Omama Altaleb)
Fanta Kaba, left, and her sister Aissatou Barry, right, pray an optional prayer as they arrive at the Diyanet Center of America on Friday, April 1, 2016 in Lanham, Md. Barry lives five minutes away from the mosque and Kaba is visiting from Manhattan, New York, for the Turkish culture center’s opening on Saturday, April 2, 2016. (WTOP/Omama Altaleb)
Aissatou Barry, left, and her sister Fanta Kaba, right, are excited for the Diyanet Center of America’s opening on Saturday, April 2, 2016 in Lanham, Md. “It’s beautiful,” they simultaneously sayabout the mosque’s architecture. (WTOP/Omama Altaleb)
The mosque is just one aspect of the new facility. The $110 million Turkish cultural center includes a mosque, guest homes, and an underground sports complex with a soccer field, basketball court and a swimming pool. (WTOP/Omama Altaleb)
Diab Mustafa, left, and Ibrahim Issa, right, pray the Muslim afternoon prayer, Dhuhr, on Friday, April 1, 2016 at the Diyanet Center of America in Lanham, Md. The two are visiting the Turkish culture center with family from New Jersey for spring break. (WTOP/Omama Altaleb)
Badriah Alotaiby overlooks the main floor of the mosque from above. It’s her first time attending the Friday prayer at the Diyanet Center of America on Friday, April 1, 2016 in Lanham, Md. (WTOP/Omama Altaleb)
Arriving late to the Friday prayer, Kamran Shaikh and his wife Sofia and daughter Isra follow him in prayer at the Diyanet Center of America on Friday, April 1, 2016 in Lanham, Md. The family is from Richmond and stopped by to pray and visit the new Turkish cultural center on their way back from New York. (WTOP/Omama Altaleb)  
Thousands of Muslims are expected to attend the opening ceremony Saturday April 2, 2016. (WTOP/Omama Altaleb)
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the Diyanet Center of America’s mosque on April 1, 2016 in Lanham, Md. The official opening for the Turkish cultural center is on Saturday April 2, 2016. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected to speak at the event. (WTOP/Omama Altaleb)

LANHAM, Md. —  On a sprawling 16-acre site dotted with decorative fountains and Cypress trees, the Dyanet Center of America — also known as the Turkish American Cultural Center —brought a touch of Turkey  to Lanham on Saturday.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan led dignitaries in dedicating the majestic complex, which includes a fellowship hall, traditional-style Turkish houses and a Turkish bathhouse.  Not far from the local VFW hall, the domed mosque and minaret stand out on Good Luck Road, amid the condominium  and apartment complexes.

“May this center bring prosperity to all the civilizations on the face of the earth and all the local communities in Maryland,” Erdogan said to a crowd of thousands of Muslims, some waving the red and white star and crescent flag of Turkey.

In his remarks, the visiting president condemned the “horror, pain and suffering” of terrorism.

“Terrorism will never have a religion, will never have a nation, will never have a nationality nor will it ever have a root or an ethnicity,” Erdogan said.

The Turkish president also lamented what he said is rising intolerance of Muslims worldwide and he alluded to the U.S. presidential race.

“It is very interesting and shocking for me to observe some of the presidential candidates here in the United States using these allegations and using these labels against the Muslims on a continuing basis and openly,” Erdogan said.

Erdogan called the center a prayer ground for all which will bring spiritual peace.

Photos by WTOP/Omama Altaleb

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