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Central Asia's Largest Mosque Opens In Kazakhstan

The Khazrat Sultan Mosque in central Astana can hold up to 5,000 worshipers.
Kazakhstan has unveiled a new mosque in its capital, Astana, that is the biggest Muslim worship facility in Central Asia.

President Nursultan Nazarbaev attended the July 6 unveiling of the Khazret Sultan Mosque, timed to coincide with the 14th anniversary of the city's foundation.

July 6 is also Nazarbaev's 72nd birthday.

The gleaming white structure took less than two years to build and is large enough to accommodate 5,000 worshipers.

Around 70 percent of Kazakhstan's 16 million people are Muslim. Most are followers of the Hanafi school of Sunni Islam.

One worker died when a fire broke out during the construction of the mosque, about six months ago.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP