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Page last updated at 14:17 GMT, Monday, 24 November 2008

Yemen's new $60m mosque

The Saleh mosque in Sana'a, Yemen

Yemen - the poorest country in the Arab world - has inaugurated a new mosque big enough for 40,000 worshippers in its capital, Sana'a.

The building is named after the country's long-serving president, Ali Abdullah Saleh.

It cost $60m to build.

The United Nations estimates 42% of Yemenis live in poverty and that one in five is malnourished.

Are you in Yemen? What do you think of the Saleh mosque?


Here is a selection of your comments:

This is typical of self-serving political leaders of the Arab world. I was in Morocco and visited their Hassan II mosque and it is even more obscene. I had to walk through a slum to get here. Here in Yemen I have had a chance to live in the village areas and see the poverty and lack of services. Sadly, I am not suprised by this monstrosity.
Khadija, Sanaa

The mosque is beautiful and I will never criticise building a house of worship. However, spending $60 million, when the country does not have the infrastructure and millions of poor and malnourished children is a real waste. Secondly to name the mosque after a corrupt dictator is unbefiting of a house of god.
Najeeb Mohammed, Aden Yemen

Yemenis put up with a lack of well-run hospitals, severe poverty and suffer electricity outages on a daily basis. They are also on the verge of mounting political and economic crises. Yet in a land of mosques , the president goes out of his way to builds the biggest, most expensive and most unnecessary one.
M Abdulla, Sanaa

I am an American currently living and working in Sana'a. I went with a group of friends, foreign and Yemeni, to see the President's mosque about a month ago. The mosque itself is certainly beautiful, but upon hearing the price I can't help but wonder what else the $60 million could have done for this country. In Yemen it is a general policy for non-Muslims not to be allowed in mosques, however, before visiting the President's mosque we heard that this policy was less strictly enforced. However, we and our Yemeni friends were encouraged to leave shortly after entering, two meters from the entrance. This experience supports further that the new mosque only serves as an expensive ornament, where even Muslims are sometimes turned away.
Chase, Sana'a, Yemen



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