Thursday, 26 April 2012

$20 million for terror-related mosque in Yemen

By Nasser Arrabyee,26/04/2012

The recently formed government of Yemen has a plan to spend 20 million dollars for building a mosque inside a religious and fundamentalist university owned and run by an extremist cleric accused of supporting global terrorism.

Last week, the minister of finance Sakhr Al Wajeh, approved an amount of 1 million dollars ( 200 million Yemeni Rials) as the first payment for  building the first stage of the mosque of Al-Eman university of Sheikh Abdul Majid Al Zandani.

 The first  stage will cost 5 million dollars (1 billion YR), and the overall cost of the whole mosques in all stages will be 20 million dollars (4 billion YR), according to documents at the ministry of finance.

When he was an opposition figure, the minister of finance was one of the most critical members  of Parliament of the government's expenditures far from urgent needs of the poor people. 

Al Wajeeh is also the chairman of the Yemeni parliamentarians against corruption (Yemen PAC).

A lot of Yemenis got angry for spending this much money from very poor budget on a mosque while Yemen   has more than enough mosques, but has very few schools and hospitals.

The government which is chaired by the Islamist-dominated coalition,(JMP), justifies spending this much money on Al Zandani's mosque, by saying  it was  the former president Ali Abdullah Saleh who approved the budget of the mosque when he visited Al Eman university during his elections campaign in 2006.

But the political analyst Faisal Al Sufi,said the new government should have corrected Saleh's mistakes not do even worse and worse mistakes.

"I was expecting that this new government would turn Al Eman university into a normal scientific university concerned with strategic studies about development and combating terrorism," said Al Sufi.

"The biggest mistake  taken by Saleh was that he supported Al Zandani and his university,and now the new government needs to correct this mistake not to develop it," Al Sufi added.

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