The title of the article is derived from a famous phrase by the great artiste Saad Al-Faraj in the Kuwait comic series ‘Darb Alzalaq’. The governor of Al Gharbia in Egypt, on the occasion of Mohamed Salah the Egyptian football player winning the title ‘Best Player’ in the English Premier League, said the province will celebrate this with a huge gathering for the contributions Salah has made to soccer, and Salah’s decision to spend large sums of money on the development of the Basyoun hospital and the construction of a mosque in his village the best of its kind or rather the ‘latest model’.
I do not exactly know what the term ‘latest model’ means, but it is certainly meant large or extravagant spending, unaware at the same time, whether ignorant or obstinate, that the problem in Egypt and other Muslim countries lies not in the lack of places of worship, but shortage of everything necessary. There is a huge shortage in schools, a lack of vocational and technical institutes, a shortage of universities, of course, and everything related to science, labor training and job creation.
Also, the schistosomiasis (bilharziassnail fever) has been killing the Egyptians for centuries, and it is in dire need of those who provide it with awareness and treatment. There is also a frightening shortage of drinking water and many other things. Yes, mosques are important and worship is necessary for large groups, but what is the real need to build luxurious religious centers in the heart of Upper Egypt and poor agricultural areas while these areas lack the necessities.
If we go back to 1400 years backward, will we find that behind the survival or spread of Islam was luxury mosques? What Mohamed Salah does not know is, and that’s the responsibility of his fans and supporters of Liverpool, headed by Mustafa Abu Hamad, president of the fans’ association, is that the illiteracy rate in the Arab countries is 20 percent, which means these Arabs can neither read nor write, and are prone to risks.
More importantly, two-thirds of our illiterate people are women – the future mothers. The risks are even more frightening when we know that these rates are double the world average. The situation is, of course, worse in Muslim countries in Africa and Asia, according to the Arab Organization for Education, Culture and Science, not the colonial and Zionist sources. This organization says if the situation continues as it is in our countries, illiteracy may wipe out the entire Arab world by 2050. Therefore, our poor and underdeveloped communities do not need mosques as much as they need education, medicine, clothing and home, and before that training to eliminate unemployment that is behind all the problems in Arab societies.
By Ahmad Al-Sarraf