More than 100 new mosques are being built in various locations across Qatar and a number of old mosques located in densely populated areas will be reconstructed into three-four storey structures, Gulf Times has learnt.
Also, around four to five Eid prayer grounds have been planned in addition to the existing 48 across the country, while some 25 houses are to be built for imams and muezzins near big mosques in different locations.
Speaking to Gulf Times yesterday, the Mosques Affairs Department assistant director (technical affairs) Eng Safran Abdullah al-Safran disclosed that huge amounts had been earmarked in the Awqaf and Islamic Affairs Ministry’s 2010-2011 budget for the construction and renovation of mosques in the country.
Presently there are a total of 1,705 mosques across Qatar, including 1,055 regular mosques, 612 big Jumah mosques, 277 private and 218 porta-cabin mosques.
Buildings housing imams and muezzins presently total up to 476 and every year additional 20 new homes are added to the lots.
Before the start of Ramadan, some 13 existing mosques had been given a facelift which included repainting, new carpets, replacement of lights and air-conditioners as well as maintenance of toilets. Eight other mosques are still under maintenance.
It could take up to two years to construct a mosque from the scratch and about eight months to complete the maintenance work.
“We have a total of 60 mosque projects currently underway at a cost of QR210mn. Construction work on some 22 has been completed before the start of Ramadan and hopefully the remaining will be ready by end of the year,” he said.
Eng al-Safran also said that another project to build 22 mosques at a cost of QR163mn was already underway following the signing of a deal with the Public Works Authority (Ashghal).
The official said that old mosques, which will be rebuilt into storeyed structures, have been marked for demolition and construction will begin soon.
“Mosques in areas that are densely populated such as Umm Ghuwailina, Bin Mahmoud have been identified and marked for demolition and in fact, some of them have been removed already with construction work starting in earnest,” he said.
“We always ensure that mosques are in good shape as we have a policy to carry out renovation and refurbishing of any mosque after eight to 10 years of its original construction and for those located in crowded areas and being used constantly by more people, we may carry out the maintenance earlier than that period,” Eng al-Safran added.
He said that a majority of the planned new mosques are concentrated in new break-out areas where major housing projects were underway, having envisaged high population in those places later on.
Also, another plan dubbed “Qatar Mosques 2022”, designed to meet the needs of the growing population, was recently announced by the department’s maintenance section head Abdullah Ali al-Mudahki.
According to him, the plan includes building three maintenance sub-offices in Doha, Al Khor and Al Rayyan, which will provide services to some 545, 332 and 736 mosques in those places respectively.
However, with the advent of the holy month of Ramadan, many residents in highly populated areas have complained of shortage of mosques or lack of proper space to hold prayers, especially for Friday’s congregational prayer and late evening “taraweeh” prayers, when more people choose to pray in mosques.
According to them, there were difficulties to offer “salat” (prayer) because most of the old mosques in the areas have been demolished while a good number of worshippers, who are willing to observe the “taraweeh” prayers, thronged the pre-fabricated structures, which usually get crowded soon.
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