Kuwait cracks down on proliferation of rogue mosques

Manama: Kuwait has issued a list of new criteria to help rein in rogue mosques which abuse the system.

Under the new measures announced by Islamic Affairs Minister Fahad Al Afassi, the mosque must have an area of at least 1,000 square metres, effectively ruling out converting small praying places into mosques where Friday prayers can be performed.

The mosque must accommodate at least 500 male and female worshippers and needs to have a parking area for a minimum of 50 cars, the minister said.

Under the new rules, the ministry receives an application to have a Friday prayer mosque that is supported by at least 100 people and then conducts a field study to assess the need for it before it announces its decision.

By toughening conditions, the ministry hopes to put an end to the abuse the system by certain individuals who do not to abide by the rules and build mosques within the vicinity of one another, dividing worshippers and causing road traffic congestion in areas near the mosques.

According to Kuwaiti reports, the state spends annually tens of millions of dinars to fix mosques that are built by private donors, but do not meet the standards set by the ministry.

Some of the mosques do not have names while others have names that are different from which under they were officially registered, Kuwaiti daily Al Rai reported.

In one instance of confusion, four mosques have the same name.

Kuwait has around 1,500 mosques, including some of the oldest in the region. Almost two thirds of the mosques are used for the Friday sermons and prayers.

Official figures show that the mosques can collectively accommodate more than 2,700,000 people. The Grand Mosque, spanning over 45,000 square metres, is the largest with more than 100,000 worshippers.

The average cost of building a mosque is KD300,000.


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