Tunisia professor's mosques comment stirs controversy

Tunisia professor stirs controversy after saying building mosques is 'waste of money'
2 min read
26 May, 2021
The professor said the water and electricity being used at mosques could go to better use, and that the money spent building these places of worship was a 'waste of public money'.
People walk past a mosque in Tunisia. [Getty Images]

A Tunisian law professor has caused controversy in Tunisia after he said building mosques was a waste of public money.

Constitutional law professor Amin Mahfoudh strongly criticised the state for the budget designated towards building mosques in the North African Muslim-majority nation

He considers this money, along with other funds allocated for equipping places of worship with extra supplies such as air conditioners, were a drain on the state.

"Imagine the amount of water being used (at mosques). Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to use this quantity in a country that suffers from a lack of water? Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to use it for irrigation?" Mahfoudh asked in a Facebook post.

He added that the same went with the excessive use of electricity.

Muslims are required to cleanse parts of their body before prayer, which, according to Islamic law, should be five times a day.

"Every construction of a new mosque is a blatant assault on all… constitutional principles and a waste of public money. He who has logic, has (control of) destiny," Mahfoudh concluded his post.

The controversial professor’s remarks became the subject of ridicule and criticism on social media, with many of Tunisia’s Muslims provoked by his comments which they consider to be an attack on their faith.

Former Minister Munji Marzouq considered Mahfoudh’s words to be "sick intellectual absurdity", asking "What are the noble human goals, if not a better life, in which a person finds his happiness, calmness and balance?"

Some considered Mahfoudh’s comments had other political motives behind them, as he is considered close to Tunisian President Kais Saied.

The secular Tunisian parties to which Saied is affiliated have been at odds with the country’s more conservative Muslim political factions, leading to political deadlock.

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