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Assalam Mosque

The Assalam Mosque is a mosque located in Nantes, France. Construction on the mosque began in 2009 and was completed in 2012, it is the largest mosque in its region in France. The construction of the Assalam Mosque was funded by wealthy Qatari Bader Abdullah Al-Darwish, the chairman of Darwish Holding, who donated €4.4 million to complete the building. Bader Abdullah Al-Darwish is a member of the Board and the Executive Committee of Qatar National Bank; the cultural center connected to the mosque, Al Darwish Abdullah Cultural Center, is named after the wealthy donor. Other funding came from France's Muslim community; the mosque is managed by the Union des Organisations Islamiques de France, an umbrella organization that represents about 250 Muslim organizations in France. Many of these organizations are known for having ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. Qatar has been involved in investments for mosques and cultural centers managed by the UOIF, including with the Assalam Mosque; this is one of many mosques throughout Europe.

A 1905 law in France enforcing the separation of church and state has led to funding issues for the construction of places of worship in France, leading wealthy donors, such as the Qataris, to step in and finance this construction. Prior to the construction of Assalam mosque, a small church was given to the UOIF for the purpose of Muslim worship. After several years, this space was no longer large enough for the number of Muslims seeking a worship space in Nantes so a larger area of city land was made available for the construction of a larger mosque; the building consists of two separate buildings, the Assalam mosque and the Al Darwish Abdullah Cultural Center. The buildings have a patio with fountains between them; the prayer room can accommodate up to 1,500 people and has a mihrab which indicates the qibla of Mecca. The building features soft natural light to create a tranquil space for worshipers; the mosque's minaret is 17 meters tall and the dome is 14 meters tall. The mosque is listed among examples of Qatar's efforts to export Wahhabism, their extreme and intolerant version of Islam, throughout Europe.

Some controversy arose in regards to the construction of the mosque as some believed that the mosque was replacing a church in Nantes. This led to backlash and debate about whether the mosque was replacing Saint-Christophe chapel

John Henry Henshall

John Henry Henshall known as Henry Henshall was a British watercolourist and etcher. Henshall was born in Manchester. Leaving school at the age of sixteen, Henry - he preferred his second forename to that of John - attended the Manchester School of Art, where he was taught by William Jabez Muckley, a talented but demanding master. In March 1876 he travelled to London to join the South Kensington School of Art, but he remained there only one term, passing in the following June to the Royal Academy on the special recommendation of Edward Poynter. In 1880 he was awarded a Royal Academy silver medal for a Painting of a Head from the Life certainly the fine watercolour An Egyptian Muleteer now in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum. Although Henshall did paint some oils he was principally a watercolourist, being elected an Associate of the RWS in 1883, becoming one of the Society's forty full members in 1897, he exhibited 171 pictures at the RWS and his diploma work, La Serenata, may be viewed at the Society's Bankside gallery.

A favourite theme of Henshall's work is the contrast between the happy innocence of childhood, without cares, the tribulations of old age. He was not afraid to tackle uncomfortable subjects and his honest, realistic pictures of ordinary life were quite unusual for painters in the Victorian era. In April 1912 the Leicester Galleries in London had an exhibition of Henshall's watercolours of Country Folk. Henshall died in Bosham, near Chichester, on 18 November 1928, aged 72 and leaving behind his wife, Elizabeth Henshall. John Ramm, ‘Out of Oblivion’, Antique Dealer & Collectors Guide, August 1990, Vol. 44 No. 1, pp. 45–47