NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

U.S. Government Funds Mosque Renovation And Rehabilitation Around The World

August 30, 2010

While much attention has been focused on questions surrounding the Ground Zero mosque, little attention has been given to the fact that U.S. taxpayer money is funding mosque development around the world, says the Daily Caller. 

Just a cursory search of the term "mosque" on the State Department's list of "projects" reveals 26 examples of federal funds going to fund construction, renovation and rehabilitation of various mosques abroad.  The benefiting countries include Bulgaria, Pakistan, Mali, Tunisia, Afghanistan, Benin, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Albania, Egypt, Tunisia, the Maldives, Yemen, Turkmenistan, Tanzania, Uganda, Azerbaijan, Sudan, Serbia and Montenegro.  The U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) -- which is putting millions toward "heritage preservation" projects in the developing world -- financed mosque-related projects in all the aforementioned countries, says the Daily Caller. 

  • In Montenegro, for example, the State Department has funded an effort to restore and conserve the Shadrvan (Fountain) of the Old Mosque in Pljevlja; according to the State Department's Website, without needed repairs there would not be a sufficient place for ritual washing before prayer.
  • The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has also spent millions reconstructing and financing multiple mosques in Cairo and Cyprus, as well as providing computers for imams in Tajikistan and Mali. 

Nicole Thompson, a State Department spokeswoman, told the Daily Caller that the U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation is a type of diplomatic effort and outreach.  "It is helping to preserve our cultural heritage.  It is not just to preserve religious structures," Thompson said.  "It is not to preserve a religion.  It is to help us as global inhabitants preserve cultures." 

Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, president and founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, told the Daily Caller that despite American efforts to reach out to Muslims around the world, a recent Zogby poll found that in the Muslim world, the percentage of the population which views America favorably still hovers around 18 percent.  "We have always felt this type of outreach is completely ineffective and that ultimately we have to approach it like the Cold War where we are fighting an ideology," says Jasser. 

Source: Caroline May, "U.S. government funds mosque renovation and rehabilitation around the world," Daily Caller, August 24, 2010. 

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