After Ram Temple, Ayodhya Mosque Construction Set For May 2024; Name 'Babri' To Be Discontinued

After Ram Temple, Ayodhya Mosque Construction Set For May 2024; Name 'Babri' To Be Discontinued

Haji Arfat Shaikh, who leads the development committee of the Indo-Islamic Cultural Foundation (IICF) overseeing the mosque project, stated this week that construction is scheduled to commence in May, following the holy month of Ramadan. The mosque is expected to be completed in three to four years.

Rahul MUpdated: Monday, January 22, 2024, 05:13 PM IST
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Following the inauguration of the grand Ram temple in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, on Monday, minority Muslims in India intend to commence the construction of a new mosque in the same city later this year, aiming for a new beginning after a lengthy and contentious dispute, as reported by Reuters.

Haji Arfat Shaikh, who leads the development committee of the Indo-Islamic Cultural Foundation (IICF) overseeing the mosque project, stated this week that construction is scheduled to commence in May, following the holy month of Ramadan. The mosque is expected to be completed in three to four years.

Mosque was demolished in 1992

In 1992, Hindu extremists demolished a 16th-century mosque in Ayodhya, claiming it was constructed over an ancient temple at the site believed to be the birthplace of Hindu god-king Ram. This dispute had strained relations between communities for decades, and the mosque's destruction led to nationwide riots, resulting in the death of around 2,000 people, primarily Muslims.

In 2019, India's highest court declared the demolition of the mosque as illegal. However, the court noted evidence suggesting the presence of a non-Islamic structure beneath it. The verdict mandated that the site be allocated to Hindu groups for constructing a temple, and Muslim community leaders were to be provided with an alternative piece of land elsewhere in the city to build a mosque.

Muslims encounter challenges in raising funds

While construction of the $180 million temple commenced within months, with the first phase scheduled to open on Monday, Muslim groups have encountered challenges in raising funds and initiating work at a remote site approximately 25 km (15 miles) away.

Zufar Ahmad Faruqi, the president of the IICF, stated, "We hadn't approached anyone... there was no public movement for it (funds)." In contrast, Hindu groups aligned with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) started soliciting donations over three decades ago and have successfully amassed over 30 billion rupees ($360 million) from 40 million individuals in India.

The mosque project faced delays, partly due to the need for a redesign that incorporated more traditional elements, such as minarets, in the structure, according to Athar Hussain, a secretary at the IICF. Additionally, plans for a 500-bed hospital within the complex have been outlined.

Crowdfunding website to come up soon

Shaikh, who is also a BJP leader, mentioned that a crowd-funding website is expected to be launched in the coming weeks. The mosque is named "Masjid Muhammed bin Abdullah," departing from the term "Babri Masjid," associated with the disputed structure, named after Emperor Babur, the founder of the Mughal empire.

Shaikh told Reuters, "Our effort has been to end and convert enmity, hatred among people into love for each other...irrespective of whether or not you accept the Supreme Court judgement. All this fighting will stop if we teach good things to our children and people".

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