The centre will also house a mosque, similar to the Faisal Mosque in Islamabad (shown in photo) that was also built by oil-rich Saudi Arabia in 1980s, with a capacity of holding 15,000 worshippers at a time.—Reuters Photo

KABUL: Saudi Arabia will build a massive Islamic centre complete with a university and a mosque in Afghanistan, an Afghan minister said Monday, describing the project as “grand and unique”.

Estimated to cost up to $100 million, the centre on a hilltop in central Kabul will house up to 5,000 students, Dayi-Ul Haq Abed, the acting Hajj and religious affairs minister told AFP.

It will be named after Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, the minister added.

“The agreement was signed last week in Jeddah. The construction will start next year, in couple of months or so,” Abed said.

The mosque, similar to the Faisal Mosque in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad that was also built by oil-rich Saudi Arabia in 1980s, will hold 15,000 worshippers at a time.

The minister said the centre will be run jointly by the Saudi and Afghan ministries of religious affairs. Other universities in Afghanistan are run by the higher education ministry.

Saudi Arabia was one of only three countries – along with Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates – that recognised the hardline Islamist Taliban regime during its rule in Afghanistan from 1996-2001.

The Taliban were overthrown in a US-led invasion shortly after the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington for harbouring Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, but have waged an 11-year insurgency.

The US and Nato still have more than 100,000 troops in Afghanistan supporting the government of President Hamid Karzai, but they are due to pull out all combat forces by the end of 2014.

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Comments (41)

Imran A.
October 29, 2012 2:44 pm
Someone stop Saudi Arabia from creating this mosque. We have had enough of you guys. We don't want your version of Islam. You have created enough problems for us. Please forgive us. please!
October 30, 2012 3:42 am
Yugoslavia's problem did not start with Muslims and Christians. It started between Croats (Catholics) and Serbs (Orthdox). Germany and Vatican wanted Croatia carved out from Yugoslavia. Irony is Tito was a Croat, and they never felt discriminated before. As the atmosphere became vicious, Saudi and West encouraged Bosnian muslims to create Bosnia. There is an irony here too. Bosnian muslim ruler (way back) once revolted against the Ottoman empire (torch bearer of Islam at that period) to gain independence, and was brutally crushed. Ottoman empire had many Christian soldiers and powerful Greek bureaucrats.
Shahnawaz Abdullah
October 30, 2012 3:53 am
Tears came to eyes on reading this.. My heart goes out to Afghanis, may Allah protect them and all of us from Saudis and their version of Islam. ameen
October 30, 2012 2:08 am
The West should understand the real image of Saudi A, as perceived in the sub continent and stop cooperating with them in adventures in Syria etc.It will only bounce back at them. Unless this is a subtle move to neutralize Taliban ,it makes no sense to build an Islamic Center in Kabul unless you bring a sensible/liberal Cleric to head it
October 29, 2012 6:29 pm
This is in continuation to my comments already posted, yes Afghanistan needs hospitals , roads , clean drinking water , proper sanitation , adequate food at least twice a day , play grounds for children , electricity , schools , colleges , universities , small industry , heavy industry and so on , but at the Same time they need to be taught Real Islam, which means LOVE & PEACE for everyone .This is the only way we can counter the wrong interpretation of Islam being propagated by Taliban .
October 30, 2012 3:28 am
So they can go straight to heaven.
October 29, 2012 2:34 pm
It will be a terrible mistake by the Afghan govt. to permit Saudis to built a mosque. Most of the sectarian problems in muslim countries is due to Saudi. they are basically sunni and wants to force sunnisim in other muslim countries.Sunni is more radical than the shias. Afghan will follow the same path, which Pakistan follows and there will be shia-sunni clashes and many innocent will die. Saudi has done this in former yogoslavia under orders from its western masters. Now we can see how Yogoslavia has been torn into fragments so that it does not poes any threat to Western countries and also make Russia weaker. Yogoslavia was an ally of Russia.These framented states are in a mess. Previously, there was never muslim-christain conflict, but we all know about the genocide in that region. If Saudis had not poked their nose, the ethnic muslims were living happily and peacefully alongwith their christains brethern. Saudis and Pakistan sent in their clerics who brainwashed the young generation and insitaged to seperate themselves and form an Islamic country, which the christains were not ready to give. Christains had co-existed for generations, but now they felt threatened and so started the war. It is in the best interest of the world and humanity, that the Saudis and their petro dollars are kept away from countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan, former russian replublics, Bangladesh , Syria,Libya and Indonesia. Saudi has never been a friend of the muslim countries, they have always kept their and their masters interest in forefront. they want to spread their language and their interpretation of religion to all parts of the world, using their petro dollars. If they are so interested to do some good cause, why don't they built hospitals, schools for girls instead of Terrorist churning mosques and madrasas.
October 29, 2012 3:02 pm
why islamic centre why not a hopsital or school or any technical institution? losers
October 29, 2012 5:03 pm
Why not build schools, roads and hospitals. That country has enough of religion and Mullahs.
October 29, 2012 4:47 pm
Too late Imran.
October 29, 2012 4:45 pm
Provided they exist in their present form which I doubt.
October 29, 2012 4:44 pm
Funny,muslims all over the world are obsessed with Islam. They are in competition to prove who is a better muslim. They are not interested in building hospitals or universities. They only need to pray, and they strongly believe their GOD will give them everything. Muslims are more interested in the after life, without knowing if there is any heaven or hell. By the way, crime rate among muslims in non-muslim countries are very high. Any coincidence?
Syed W. Ali
October 29, 2012 3:58 pm
Why not start investment in areas where Afghans need help the most? Children aside, adults are in dire need for education in order to contribute to a healthy Afghan society and to avail both women and children access to basic rights to education and healthcare. What will this glass-made castle be good for except hanging a placard with the name of the good King?
October 29, 2012 2:22 pm
Instead of building 100 schools for children and a research facility for educated children and an engineering college to rebuild the nation, all they want to build is new moques and minarets. How shortsighted can the saudi's and the afghans be?
October 29, 2012 2:24 pm
There is nothing wrong about good education or a good Islamic center built in Kabul, but in order to check terrorism the education given to the students in this facility must be strictly monitored. We already have witnessed the the negative results of these schools that are spread throughout Pakistan and were / are never monitored.
October 29, 2012 3:04 pm
Just what Afghanistan needs. More Saudi interpretations of Islam. At this rate in 200 years both Afghan and Pakistani regions will have Arabic as the primary language.
October 29, 2012 3:05 pm
Wow, best way to export your brand of religon. No problem of depleting resources. Promote child birth educate yoth to your brand of islam and let them lose on west. Who will make money out of all this cycle is a question that will not need a genius to answer.
M. Asghar
October 29, 2012 2:54 pm
It will be nice to build a mosquecumeducational centre in Kabul, but before this, the destructive occupation of the country by the Saudi Arabia's close allies, has to be finished.
T, Nawaz
October 30, 2012 12:21 am
What seems to be the problem of making negative comments? if you want to spend money and resources, i am sure Afghan government will be receptive to your suggestions.
October 29, 2012 2:54 pm
this is how they start the brainwashing
October 29, 2012 2:53 pm
The last thing Afghanistan needs is more religion and Saudi involvement.
October 29, 2012 4:39 pm
Saudia's number one export is religion. I hope they open this institute to negate the extremist studies they provided in the past.
Cyrus Howell
October 29, 2012 2:48 pm
PEACE brothers. Peace is best.
October 29, 2012 2:51 pm
that's all they need, all Saudi does it invest money in promoting extremism and people such as the taliban! if they want to help they should help building schools, infrastructure, hospitals etc !
October 29, 2012 9:02 pm
Raj, You are right about Saudi Arabia but you have no clue to Yugoslavia's war - it's genesis, causes and the perpetrators. While I can not give you a history lesson here, suffice it to say, the Western Powers, specially America, protected the Muslims from sure annihilation.
Qamber Ali
October 29, 2012 1:45 pm
RIP, afghanistan and kabul
October 29, 2012 3:39 pm
Because the saudi royal family uses Islam to lend legitimacy to its illegitimate usurpation of the rights of the people of arabia.
Waseem Khan
October 29, 2012 8:20 pm
They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions.In this case the intentions are not that pure either!
October 30, 2012 1:06 am
Afghans can not deal with current cost of religion.Even more religion!!! OMG
October 29, 2012 3:17 pm
Afghanistan needs schools, hospitals and roads, not another religious center. Saudi's want to leave their footprints that brought Afghans ruination in first place.
October 29, 2012 4:10 pm
Saudis will build a mosque, then the Iranians will build an Imambargah and finally the west will light the fuse. We shall enjoy the fireworks.
October 29, 2012 10:08 pm
I remember reading somewhere..Mughal Emperor Akbar once decided that a bridge should get a precedent over a mosque!
October 29, 2012 10:10 pm
With no economic development or science or technology or education....the region will turn a desert to rival Saudi Arabia's!
October 29, 2012 9:49 pm
well said.
adam memon
October 29, 2012 2:11 pm
Very good news.Alhamdulillah.May Allah give muslim best possible education and knowledge.
October 29, 2012 4:23 pm
People of Afganistan should oppose this project, we all have seen the true motives of the Saudis
October 29, 2012 9:10 pm
I hope Saudi Arabia help builds Islamic center for tolerance and religious harmony among all Afghans.
October 29, 2012 6:30 pm
Thank god there are some sane muslims in Pakistan who would think to rather have schools for children and hospitals for the sick than another mosque.You dont need grand bulidings to praise and worship god and god does not need your grand buildings.
Karachi Wala
October 29, 2012 2:33 pm
Please have mercy on the region. Stop Saudi funding..........
October 29, 2012 6:59 pm
well said
October 29, 2012 2:24 pm
Why do Saudis provide money for mosques and madrasaas ? Why can't they build schools or lay roads or provide drinking water facilities, which Afghans need very much.
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