x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Engineer denies cursing mosque

He says he uttered the words out of frustration in a meeting with his colleagues.

ABU DHABI // An engineer argued he did not mean to insult any religious monuments when he said "damn mosques" in a meeting, the appeals court heard today.

The engineer, who works at the parks and recreation section of Abu Dhabi Municipality, was sentenced to one month in prison by the Court of Misdemeanours.

He was in charge of a project to create gardens around a mosque, records show. He lost his temper during a meeting because the project was progressing slowly. He was reported to the police by his colleagues at the meeting as saying: "When will we finnish with the damn mosques?"

He explained to the judge that he did not mean to insult the mosque as a religious place and the he respected Islam as a religion and the UAE.

"I said it out of concern for the project because I wanted it to be ready as soon as possible," he said.

"So your keenness on completion drove you to curse [the mosque]?" the judge asked.

The engineer reasserted his respect for the mosques he works on and said he wanted them to be presented in the best way possible.

The verdict will be announced on February 7.

hdajani@thenational.ae