Morocco to shut 1,000 mosques at risk of collapse
| Wednesday, 08.11.2010, 11:13 AM

RABAT — Morocco will shut more than 1,000 unsafe mosques in a bid to avoid a repeat of a minaret collapse in February that killed 41 people, the ministry of religious affairs said Tuesday.

"The regional commissions (of the ministry) have inspected 19,205 mosques and decided to completely close 1,256 mosques and partially close 416 mosques," the ministry said in a statement.

The ministry would demolish and rebuild 513 mosques, the statement said.

On February 21, 41 people were killed and 76 injured in the central city of Meknes when a historic minaret of a mosque collapsed as workers gathered for Friday prayers.

The accident prompted criticism of authorities over the state of religious sites, and King Mohammed VI ordered a nationwide inspection.

A total of 245 million euros (325 million dollars) has been set aside for improvement works, the statement said.

Morocco has almost 48,000 mosques, according to ministry figures.



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