Mosques And Housing For 'imams' And 'muezzins' Are Regulated By The Awqaf

05 November 2023 Kuwait

Kuwait Municipality Acting Director Saud Al-Dabbous has been informed about ministerial resolutions No. 240 and 267 regarding mosques, housing, and family housing for imams and muezzins. The Kuwait Municipality, the executive body of the Municipal Council, is working to coordinate and cooperate with the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs in order to control the allocation of lands to mosques, the compliance with building regulations for private and investment housing areas, and the organization of parking lots for those areas.

According to a statement issued by the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs to the municipality, the following conditions must be considered when allocating mosques:

- The distance from the nearest existing mosque in residential areas should not be less than 350 meters.

- The distance from the nearest existing mosque in investment housing areas and service, craft, commercial, and industrial areas shall not be less than 250 meters when requested to be allocated in the same plot.

- The distance from the nearest existing mosque should not be less than 10 kilometers for mosques required to be allocated or established on highways.

- The distance from the nearest existing mosque should not be less than 1,500 meters in areas of chalets and agricultural holdings.

- Approval of neighbors is required to allocate new mosques in residential areas in the event that there are neighbors adjacent to the mosque, in accordance with the regulations in force in the municipality.

- Car parking and family housing for the imam and muezzin of the new mosques in the chalet areas must be provided, after obtaining the approval of the Ministry of Finance’s State Property Department.

- If it is provided in agricultural areas and the site to be allocated is within an agricultural holding, the area required to be allocated to the mosque, parking lots, and family housing for the imam and the muezzin will be deducted from that holding, provided that the Public Authority for Agricultural Affairs and Fish Resources (PAAAFR) approves it. There are various controls for allocating family housing to imams and muezzins, but the most prominent one is that the plot must have a minimum area of 250 square meters. Buildings may have more than one floor, but each floor must be a separate unit.

Building conditions and regulations apply in accordance with applicable standards in the municipality based on three conditions:-

- Allowing a license to establish family housing within the boundaries of the existing mosque if its area allows for this, in accordance with the technical requirements contained in the regulations of the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs and the building regulations in force in the municipality.

- Allowing the construction of family housing adjacent to the wall of the existing mosque or close to it, in accordance with the technical requirements contained in the bylaw and the applicable building regulations, provided that the neighboring neighbors approve the mosque in residential areas only.

- In all cases, it must be taken into account not to disturb the architectural character and aesthetic form of the mosque when designing family housing for the imam and the muezzin. An article in the municipality's statement also stressed that the proposed location for the construction of mosques, family housing for the imams and muezzins, and parking lots must comply with all building regulations, conditions, regulatory standards, and planning standards in the municipality.

According to Article 7, the ministry sent the municipality a letter to form a committee based on the decision of the undersecretary of the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs. The committee will be headed by the assistant undersecretary for Mosque Sector Affairs and include the deputy director general responsible for the organization in the municipality, a vice president, and some local members.

It will examine whether the requests submitted by the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs for the allocation of mosques and family housing for imams and muezzins are compatible with their actual need to be established in the areas where they are required to be established, and if the requests are compatible with the endowment decision made by the minister. The municipality must also approve the application and consider allocating the site if it is approved by the municipality.

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