The Reflection of Interreligious Coexistence on the Cultural Morphology of the Grand Omari Mosque


  • Ziad M Shehada University of Malaya



Interreligious coexistence, architecture, morphology, Grand Omari Mosque, Gaza.


Religious monumental buildings testify to ancient history, past civilizations, and different religions. Therefore, many countries are keen to protect their monuments in various ways. History has seen many wars and conflicts among religions to extend their control over one another, reflected in their attempts to destroy religious buildings or obliterate their features. Contrastingly, areas that experienced interfaith coexistence have survived due to the smooth implementation of architectural conservation. The current research investigated the extent to which religious coexistence has affected the preservation of architectural heritage by analyzing the urban and architectural morphology of the Grand Omari Mosque in Gaza. The research applied the descriptive-historical analysis approach to identify the urban and architectural components of the mosque that have changed or have been preserved due to peaceful interreligious relationships. The research found that Islamic, Christian, Jewish, and pagan architectural elements still exist in the mosque. In each era, people preserved these elements due to the coexistence and acceptance among the religions. This resulted in the preservation of thousands of years of architectural heritage, thus preventing it from obscuration or distortion.


Al Tawayha, F., Braganca, L., & Mateus, R. (2019). Contribution of the vernacular architecture to the sustainability: A comparative study between the contemporary areas and the old quarter of a Mediterranean city. Sustainability (Switzerland), 11(3). doi:10.3390/su11030896

Al-Urdunīyah, J., & al-Yarmūk, J. (1983). Palestine: The Third International Conference for the History of Bilad Ash-Sham: Lajnat Tārīkh Bilād al-Shām, Lajnat al-Taḥrīr wa-al-Nashr.

Ambraseys, N. N., Melville, C. P., & Adams, R. D. (2005). The Seismicity of Egypt, Arabia and the Red Sea: A Historical Review: Cambridge University Press.

Arango, M. M. T. (2016). Meditative Mandala Stones: Create Beautiful Designs While Relaxing and Focusing: Rock Point.

Ashkelony, B. B., & Kofsky, A. (2004). Christian Gaza In Late Antiquity: Brill.

Caplan, N. (2011). The Israel-Palestine Conflict: Contested Histories: Wiley.

Clermont-Ganneau, C. (2010). Archaeological researches in Palestine: Comm. of the Palestine Exploration Fund.

Copeland, T. E., Cook, A. H., McCartan, L. M., Baker, D. P., Fregulia, J., Frentzos, C., . . . Scavo, C. (2011). Drawing a Line in the Sea: The Gaza Flotilla Incident and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Lexington Books.

Dowling, T. E. (1913). Gaza: A City of Many Battles (from the Family of Noah to the Present Day): S.P.C.K.

Dumper, M., Abu-Lughod, J. L., & Stanley, B. E. (2007). Cities of the Middle East and North Africa: A Historical Encyclopaedia: ABC-CLIO.

Dunn, R. E., Ibn-Baṭṭūṭa, M. I. A., Dunn, U. R. E., E-Book, A. H., Societies, A. C. o. L., & Project, H. E.-B. (2005). The Adventures of Ibn Battuta: A Muslim Traveller of the Fourteenth Century: University of California Press.

El-Attar, A. A. H., Hossam, E. D., & Salah, E. B. (2010). Mamluk Art: The Splendour and Magic of the Sultans: Museum with No Frontiers, MWNF (Museum Ohne Grenze).

Encyclopaedia Britannica (1952). Great Books of the Western World: Gibbon: W. Benton, Encyclopaedia Britannica, Incorporated.

Feldman, I. (2008). Governing Gaza: Bureaucracy, Authority, and the Work of Rule, 1917–1967: Duke University Press.

Filiu, J. P., & King, J. (2014). Gaza: A History: Oxford University Press.

Fisher, C. T., Cohen, A. S., Solinis-Casparius, R., Pezzutti, F. L., Bush, J., Forest, M., & Torvinen, A. (2019). A typology of ancient Purépecha (Tarascan) architecture from Angamuco, Michoacán, Mexico. Latin American Antiquity, 30(3), 510-528. doi:10.1017/laq.2019.50

Frontiers, M. W. N., & al-Thaqāfah, P. N. A. W. (2013). Pilgrimage, Sciences and Sufism: Islamic Art in the West Bank and Gaza: Museum with No Frontiers.

Gibbon, E. (2018). History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Volume 12: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.

Grabar, O. (1985). An Annual on Islamic Art and Architecture: BRILL.

Hamimi, Z., El-Barkooky, A., Frías, J. M., Fritz, H., & El-Rahman, Y. A. (2019). The Geology of Egypt: Springer International Publishing.

Hilliard, A., & Bailey, B. (1999). Living Stones Pilgrimage: Bloomsbury Publishing.

Holum, K. G. (1989). Theodosian Empresses: Women and Imperial Dominion in Late Antiquity: University of California Press.

Horbury, W. (2014). Jewish War under Trajan and Hadrian: Cambridge University Press.

Kamal-ud-Din, K., Mission, W. M., & Trust, L. (1957). The Islamic Review: Woking Muslim Mission and Literary Trust.

Kleiner, F. S. (2016). A History of Roman Art: Cengage Learning.

Kobylarczyk, J. (2019). Lighting of the Urban Interior in the Residential Environment. Materials Science and Engineering, 471(10). doi:10.1088/1757-899X/471/10/102032

Kristensen, T. M. (2013). Making and Breaking the Gods: Christian Responses to Pagan Sculpture in Late Antiquity: Aarhus University Press.

Lowry, H. W. (2012). Nature of the Early Ottoman State, The: State University of New York Press.

Maniscalco, F. (2002). La tutela dei beni culturali in Italia: Massa.

Masalha, N. (2018). Palestine: A Four Thousand Year History: Zed Books.

McKenzie, J. L. (1995). The Dictionary of The Bible: Touchstone.

Orosius, P., & Deferrari, R. J. (2010). The Seven Books of History Against the Pagans: Catholic University of America Press.

Osheroff, E., & Halevy, D. (2019). Destruction as layered event: Twentieth century ruins in the great mosque of Gaza. International Journal of Islamic Architecture, 8(1), 45-69. doi:10.1386/ijia.8.1.45_1

PASSIA. (2001). One hundred years of Palestinian history: PASSIA, Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs.

Pescosolido, B. A., Martin, J. K., McLeod, J. D., & Rogers, A. (2010). Handbook of the Sociology of Health, Illness, and Healing: A Blueprint for the 21st Century: Springer New York.

Pringle, D., & Leach, P. E. (1993). The Churches of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem: Volume 3, The City of Jerusalem: A Corpus: Cambridge University Press.

Pringle, D., Pringle, P. D., Leach, P. E., & Press, C. U. (1993). The Churches of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem: A Corpus: Volume 1, A-K (excluding Acre and Jerusalem): Cambridge University Press.

Remery, M. (2010). Mystery and Matter: On the relationship between liturgy and architecture in the thought of dom Hans van der Laan OSB (1904‐1991): Brill.

Ring, T., Watson, N., & Schellinger, P. (2014). Middle East and Africa: International Dictionary of Historic Places: Taylor & Francis.

Runciman, S., & Essex, U. o. (1970). The historic role of the Christian Arabs of Palestine: Longmans for the University of Essex.

Sedighi, M., & Mota, N. (2020). Kuy-e Narmak (1952–1958): the growth and change of an urban community in Tehran. Planning Perspectives, 35(3), 477-504. doi:10.1080/02665433.2019.1598280

Serageldin, I., Shluger, E., & Martin-Brown, J. (2001). Historic Cities and Sacred Sites: Cultural Roots for Urban Futures: World Bank.

Shaw, J., & Demy, T. (2017). War and Religion: An Encyclopaedia of Faith and Conflict [3 volumes]: ABC-CLIO.

Shriteh, F. (2014). Gaza: Xlibris.

Sivan, H. (2011). Galla Placidia: The Last Roman Empress: OUP USA.

Stanton, A. L., Ramsamy, E., Seybolt, P. J., & Elliott, C. M. (2012). Cultural Sociology of the Middle East, Asia, and Africa: An Encyclopaedia: SAGE Publications.

Sykley, J. A., & Zanoon, R. (2016). Escaping Gaza: Raed Zanoon The Peace Seeker: John Hunt Publishing.

Ṭabbāʻ, O. (1999). Itḥāf wa-aʻizzah fī tārīkh Ghazzah: Al-Yazgi Publication center.

Tamari, S. (1982). Darb al-Hajj in Sinai: a historical-archaeological study: Accademia nazionale dei Lincei.

Weingarten, S. (2005). The Saint's Saints: Hagiography and Geography in Jerome: Brill.

Weshah, G. (2018). The Policy of Exile and Exclusion in the Mamluk State. International Journal of History and Cultural Studies (IJHCS), 4(1), 110-120. doi:

Yacobi, H., & Nasasra, M. (2019). Routledge Handbook on Middle East Cities: Taylor & Francis.




How to Cite

Shehada, Z. M. (2020). The Reflection of Interreligious Coexistence on the Cultural Morphology of the Grand Omari Mosque. Journal of History Culture and Art Research, 9(4), 146-163.