Saudi Arabia has agreed to donate Tk974.17 crore for the establishment of 560 model mosques across Bangladesh, sources at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Tuesday.
The decision was made on the back of last year’s visit by Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to Saudi Arabia, where she met King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud.
According to a foreign ministry official, the model mosques project, which will be launched soon, has already been approved in Ecnec and will be a collaborative effort between the Planning Ministry and the Economic Relations Division under the Ministry of Finance.
He added that the Bangladesh government has already mapped out 20 acres of land to be acquired for the project.
The project proposal has been sent to the ERD, the foreign ministry and the Saudi government.
In theory, the proposed mosques will be established in every district, city corporation and upazila.
The Islamic Foundation states that the mosques will be categorised under three categories: A, B and C.
In category A, 68 four-storey buildings with elevator facilities will each be established on 281,000 square metre plots in 64 districts and four city corporations.
In category B, 476 three-storey mosques will be built, covering 164,000 square metres each. And in category C, 16 three-storey mosques will be built along the coastal areas, each covering 61,000 square metres.
The mosques will be able to accommodate at least 450,000 men and over 30,000 women for daily prayers, and will have lodging space for more than 2,000 foreign guests and libraries with room for more than 34,000 people.
The model mosques project also aims to provide primary education to more than 150,000 children and conduct digital registrations for the annual Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca.
The mosques will also be outfitted with cultural centres and cyclone centres.
The Saudi government has also agreed to donate money towards the establishment of a permanent campus for Islami Arabic University in Keraniganj, according to the foreign ministry source.