Islamic Affairs Ministry has a budget of Rf 211million – that’s twice as much as we are spending on tourism, information and arts and a whopping 14 times more than what we are spending on economic development!
How on earth is the Islamic Ministry spending all the money? Rf 160million on recurrent expenditures and 51million on capital expenditure, says the Ministry’s budget.
The Public Sector Investment Programme for 2010 shows Government plans spend Rf50million to build mosques in some 36 different locations in the country. Here’s an example of some islands that are going to get brand new mosques in 2010.
The 700 odd residents of Dh. Badidhoo are getting a mosque at a cost of Rf1.2million.
R. Fainu, home to some 300 odd people are getting a mosque valued at Rf1.7million.
R. Dhuvaafaru, home to around 2000 people is getting 2 mosques – one that costs Rf0.58million and another at Rf 4.4 million.
Who prays in these mosques? Men, to be more precise, men too old to travel to resorts or Male for work. How about women? They pray at home.
Now, the question of cost. I know how easily I could be labelled as ‘an atheist, gay, Jewish, Christian missionary’ for saying this. But lets think about the Fainu mosque case: building a mosque at a cost of Rf1.7 million in Fainu is like giving Rf30,000 to every adult male in the island to pray. It simply defies all my logic. I simply cannot understand the rationale of our policy makers to ‘invest’ Rf 50million of mostly borrowed money to build fancy mosques in small island communities the harsh demographic and geographical realities of which often compel its residents to travel to a neighbouring island for the even most common tablet of painkillers.
I’ve always been told Prophet's mosque in Madinah was constructed entirely from date palm – palm tree trunk pillars and palm fronds roof, no minaret and no dome. Islam, as I have understood all my life, is all for virtues like modesty and simplicity.
This got me seriously baffled. Utterly confused. Confused as to the need of a small island community that defecate into holes dug, as-and-when-nature-calls, on public beaches and ‘four-gear’ latrines to pray in a mosque that has a shining dome, a tall minaret and intricate wood carvings of Quranic verses on the walls. It looks like Islam indeed is an expensive affair in this country.
- ▼ 2010 (11)