x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Dh22m is raised for mosque renewal

A fundraising campaign for building and refurbishing mosques has so far raised Dh22 million (US$6m) of its Dh300 million goal, officials said.

ABU DHABI // A fundraising campaign for building and refurbishing mosques has so far raised Dh22 million (US$6m) of its Dh300 million goal, officials said. The General Authority for Islamic Affairs and Endowments launched the Grouse's Nest programme - named after one of the Prophet's hadiths - in May to help build 137 mosques and refurbish existing ones. No end date has been announced.

"The authority has completed all technical studies and surveys that identify the needs of different areas around the country," said Dr Mohammed al Mazrouei, the executive director for Islamic affairs at the authority. "Right now we're preparing the architectural and engineering plans for the new mosques to facilitate the building stage." New mosques cost Dh3m to Dh15m, he said, depending on size.

The UAE has strict standards for building new mosques. They must reflect architectural elements from the three major Islamic eras, and the number of pillars inside the main prayer hall must be minimised to ensure maximum capacity. New mosques will provide disabled access, as well as a private section where women can pray. Grouse's Nest was launched to enable people to contribute as little as Dh200 each. The main priority is to replace many of the 400 so-called caravan mosques razed last year for failing to meet basic safety and hygiene standards.

Many worshippers in communities that lost their temporary buildings are eager for new, permanent structures. There are 255 sites designated for building mosques, land donated by the Government. The campaign has included advertisements in print and other media, as well as text messages sent to more than 200,000 Etisalat customers. For more information, visit the authority's website, www.awqaf.ae relass@thenational.ae