New US$26m luxurious mosque outrages Egyptians as economy collapses
At a time when Egypt has been facing an unprecedented economic crisis for over two years now, president Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi recently inaugurated a record-breaking mosque in the New Administrative Capital.
The New Grand Egyptian Mosque – annexed to a cultural, Islamic centre – has a 16.6-metre-high pulpit, handcrafted from the finest type of wood, and the heaviest chandelier in the world, weighing 50 tons with a 22-metre diametre made of four levels.
The rather luxurious mosque is equipped to host a total of 107,000 worshippers at a time. It is located in a remote area inside the administrative capital, 45 kilometres east of Cairo, and was inaugurated by Sisi on the eve of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan.
The huge 19,000 square-metre building cost 800 million Egyptian pounds (around $US 26 million), an extravagant cost that triggered widespread criticism among Egyptians on social media.
أثقل نجفة و أطول منبر و أكبر مسجد و أعلى برج و أروع انهيار اقتصادي https://t.co/7qjLLNFDhN— إيهاب في مدينة البهائم (@EhabFarag_) March 23, 2023
Ehab Farag, an Egyptian Twitter user, wrote: "The heaviest chandelier, the highest pulpit, the biggest mosque…and the [worst] economic collapse."
Another user, Haytahm Abokhalil, rhetorically wrote: "The heaviest chandelier, the highest pulpit [made by] borrowing and interest in a mosque inside the desert…in a country whose people are drained by hunger?"
أثقل نجفة وأكبر منبر بالدين والسلف والفوائد في مسجد في الصحراء— Haytham Abokhalil هيثم أبوخليل (@haythamabokhal1) March 23, 2023
رغم وجود مسجد الفتاح العليم على مقربة منه في بلد الناس الجوع هلكها؟ pic.twitter.com/5duFI6E0pw
Egypt's external debt soared by 5.1 per cent during the fourth quarter of 2022, reaching $US 162.94 billion.
In October last year, the central bank of Egypt imposed an exchange rate flexibility, allowing the value of the Egyptian pound to be regulated by market forces in a bid to save an already ailing economy after securing a US$3 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The country's economy has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic and the Ukrainian-Russian war, factors that further disrupted global markets and hiked oil and food prices worldwide.
Egypt's annual headline inflation soared in February this year hit 31.9 per cent.