New mosque construction in Ayodhya to begin in May

A 3D structure of the mosque.

As Hindu devotees gear up to inaugurate a grand temple in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, India’s minority Muslims plan to commence the construction of a new mosque in the same city later this year.

This initiative aims to mark a fresh start after a decades-long dispute.

Haji Arfat Shaikh, head of the Indo-Islamic Cultural Foundation (IICF) development committee overseeing the mosque project, stated that construction is set to begin in May, following the holy month of Ramadan, with an estimated completion time of three to four years, Reuters reported.

The contentious history involves Hindu right-wing members demolishing a 16th-century mosque in Ayodhya in 1992, claiming it was built over an ancient temple marking the birthplace of Hindu God Ram.

The dispute strained relations between communities, leading to nationwide riots resulting in the deaths of 2,000 people, predominantly Muslims.

In 2019, India’s top court deemed the mosque’s demolition unlawful but ruled in favor of handing the site to Hindu groups for building a temple. Muslim leaders were allocated land elsewhere in the city for constructing a mosque.

While the $180 million temple’s construction started promptly, Muslim groups faced challenges in fundraising and initiating work at a distant site, the International news agency reported.

Zufar Ahmad Faruqi, president of IICF, highlighted the lack of public movement for funds. The mosque project also faced delays due to the need for redesigning to incorporate more traditional elements, such as minarets.

Athar Hussain, a secretary at IICF, mentioned plans for a 500-bed hospital within the complex, Reuters reported.

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