Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Saudi mosques charges for its services | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Dammam,Asharq Al-Awsat-Caretakers of a mosque in the Saudi city of Dammam have discovered a new way of promoting their programs. The mosque now charges those who want to take part in its activities, after officials realized that the most popular programs are those requiring a fee.

Sheikh Mohammed Khamis, Imam of the al Hoda mosque in the Eastern city says, “We no longer offer free services. Those who want to take part in our programs will now have to pay a small fee. For example, students who want to learn the Quran must make a payment at the beginning of the semester.”

He adds, “I noticed that paying services were the most popular. When Quran classes were free, we had no more than 70 students. After imposing registration fees, the number has increased to 120. Students are now more likely to attend classes and arrive on time.”

The mosque offers a variety of services, with Quranic classes costing as much as 26$ US (or 100 Saudi Riyals) which account for a third of the total cost of the service. It also provides membership to the Library Society at a cost of 80 $ US (or 300 Saudi Riyals) to register and the same amount for transportation to and from the mosque in one of its two buses.

As for outdoor programs, like the “Open Day”, which takes place once or twice a month, participants have to pay 10$ US (or 40 Saudi Riyals) for the entire day. A visit to Mecca can cost up to 185$ US (or 700 Saudi Riyals) with the mosque covering a third of the expense.

In the summer season, the mosque organizes a trip to one of the Kingdom’s resort parks, which sets back participants 160$ US (or 600 Saudi Riyals). Al Khamis justified the new decision by noting, “People enjoy taking parts in the different activities we offer. When they pay, they are more likely to take part in the event and follow it up until the end.”