News Column

Government, charity trusts unite to restore historical mosques

August 4, 2014

RESTORATION: The Shafi Masjid, one of the oldest mosques at the Harrah Al-Mazloum in the historical Balad district in Jeddah, is being renovated. (SPA)

Riyadh: Rashid Hassan

The Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA) has joined forces with public administrations and charity associations to restore historical mosques and Islamic endowments in the Kingdom, an official from the Supreme Commission for Tourism said Sunday.

"The commission has made strident efforts for the restoration of many historical mosques across the Kingdom in cooperation with the Ministry of Islamic Affairs and the Al-Turath heritage foundation under the national program," he said.

Prince Sultan bin Salman, SCTA president, said in a statement said that he had reiterated the importance of maintaining dated mosques.

"Mosque restoration has been ongoing since the Saudi state was founded," he said. "Restoration initiatives continue under a program devoted to this purpose."

"These mosques will be open for prayer in urban heritage sites in an attempt to preserve their religious and historical roles in society," he said.

The preservation program was formally launched in 1977 under the aegis of the late Prince Sultan and has since undertaken the restoration, rehabilitation and development of several historical mosques across the Kingdom being implemented by the Al-Turath Foundation.

The program aims to preserve local architectural style across the country.

According to SCTA sources, restoration work is under way in the Al-Shafi and Al-Memar mosques in the Jeddah historical area on directives issued by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah and at the Al-Hajafi Mosque in the same area through the support of Crown Prince Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense.

The Al-Sakhra Mosque in Al-Ula was also restored through funding from Prince Sultan, chairman of the Al-Turath Foundation.

Three more mosques in Madinah were also restored under this program. These are the Al-Ghamama, Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq and Omar bin Al Khattab mosques

Two mosques were restored in the Riyadh region. These are the Al-Hussaini and Al-Aushaza mosques in the Al-Ghat area.

Several mosques were also restored in the Eastern Province, including the the Jowatha Mosque in Al-Ahsa, the Al-Ogair Mosque in the Ogair Center and the Al-Jabry Mosque, also in Al-Ahsa.

The restoration works on the area's mosques were funded by the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu (RCJY).

A total of 13 mosques have been restored so far, according to the SCTA media department, while 11 mosques are scheduled to be restored in the near future.

Meanwhile, 90 mosques have been surveyed by the Al-Turath Foundation and included in future restoration lists.

A royal decree issued in 2008 prohibits abrasive misuse of Islamic sites in Makkah and Madinah. The decree also mandated the SCTA to keep track of all these sites and note down violations.

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Source: Arab News (Saudi Arabia)

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