Salman mosque cannot be opened by Ramadan: Islamic Minister

Islamic Minister Dr. Ahmed Zahir has stated that the grand mosque constructed with Saudi Arabia's aid, Masjid Fahud Bin Abdul Azeez cannot be opened before Ramadan.

The construction of the mosque commenced during former president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom's administration. The project experienced setbacks for two years and has now almost reached full completion. While criticism has been aimed at the current administration due to the delays, some say the government is stalling the opening of the mosque on purpose.

During a press conference held on March 10, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih had stated that the government is working to ensure that the mosque is opened by this Ramadan. The president said it was initially planned that senior officials from Saudi Arabia would arrive in the Maldives to open the mosque, and that the current delays are due to difficulties in travel due to COVID-19. Therefore, the government is working to open the mosque unofficially and utilize the space during Ramadan, said President Solih.

Speaking to AVAS, Islamic Minister Ahmed Zahir Ali said the mosque cannot be opened by Ramadan, and that there are several work that remain unfinished. The funds required for completion need to be acquired, said the minister.

The almost-complete mosque stands on the outskirts of Male' city overlooking the Sinamale' Bridge. Spread over a total area of 41500 square feet, the beautiful mosque can accommodate 10,000 people simultaneously. Four elevators have been installed at the mosque for easy access. The ground, first and second floor of the five-storey building is allocated for praying. While the ground of the mosque has the capacity to accommodate 6000 worshipers, 4000 people can simultaneously use the first and second floors of the mosque. The second floor is especially for female worshippers, it has a separate entrance with special washrooms for women. The third floor of the mosque has a large library and an auditorium. Although the infrastructural work of both rooms have been completed, the furniture required for the auditorium and some other rooms have not yet been installed. The fourth floor has a part of the auditorium and a lobby while the fifth floor has a multi-purpose hall.