‘Positive’ meeting on mosque road plans

Source: Phnom Penh Post

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Cham Muslims assembled outside Boeung Kak’s Al-Serkal Mosque last week to protest against City Hall’s decision to build a road that will run just 50 metres from where the mosque sits. Photo supplied.

After vocal protests by some in the Cham Muslim community, Phnom Penh City Hall has agreed to consider redrafting a map for a controversial road that was slated to run through the Boeung Kak mosque compound.

In what was described as a “positive” meeting between the municipal government and road opponents, the municipality agreed to consider re-mapping the road to run along the border of the mosque’s territory, rather than 50 metres from its steps under the current plan.

Road opponent and Ministry of Social Affairs Secretary of State Ahmad Yahya said he had no objections for a planned underground sewage pipe to be constructed across the compound.

“I am optimistic we can reach a compromise,” Yahya said.

“The governor said he didn’t want to divide the Muslim community.”

City Hall spokesman Met Measpheakdey said former opponents had also agreed to a small land re-allocation on the north side of the mosque compound.

“We agreed to draw the map again. They requested us to build the road along the south-side fence. We agreed to do a study on it first and will call for another meeting,” he said.

The meeting came after factions within the Muslim community appeared at odds over the project; while imams voted in favour of the government’s plan, opponents pulled down a temporary fence and prayed in protest.

Labour Ministry Secretary of State Othsman Hassan yesterday stood by the original road map.

“My side only supports the road plan by City Hall, which will give benefit to all parties,” he said.

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