‘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.
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Next up for Vanny: trial

Source: Phnom Penh Post

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Tep Vanny at Boeung Kok House in Phnom Penh Heng Chivoan

The investigation into prominent Boeung Kak lake activist Tep Vanny’s alleged instigation of violence during a 2013 protest outside Prime Minister Hun Sen’s residence was closed last month and will likely proceed to trial, her lawyer said yesterday.
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System puts ‘profits over people’

Source: Phnom Penh Post

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A worker stands on a pipe pumping sand into Phnom Penh’s Boeung Kak lake, a site where mass evictions by a ruling party senator’s company took place in 2011. Afp

Cambodia’s unique brand of free-market democracy is so closely entwined with patronage that the society puts “profits over people” and compromises the rule of law, according to a new paper.

In Klepto-Neoliberalism: Authoritarianism and Patronage in Cambodia, academic Simon Springer argues that neoliberalism – the school of thought that holds that free markets breed broad-based prosperity – is always under the influence of patron politics in Cambodia and works “in concert with authoritarian means”. The dynamic, he goes on to say, allows powerful elites to co-opt reforms and manipulate privatisation to enrich themselves.
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Opponents of new road gather at B Kak mosque

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

Hundreds of Cham Muslims protesting a divisive road to be built on the land of a Boeung Kak mosque this weekend appealed to higher powers for intervention: Allah, and Prime Minister Hun Sen.

On Friday, believers spilled onto the stairs of the Al-Serkal Mosque and prayed, but prayer soon turned to peaceful protest. While riot police watched on, there were no outbreaks of violence. Vocal road opponent Ahmad Yahya said the vast display undercut the outcome of a meeting held at the mosque in the days prior, where many of the Kingdom’s imams voted in favour of building the road, which will sit 50 metres from the mosque.

“We are Muslim, so we have to pray to God and ask God to not allow these people to build this road,” Yahya, a secretary of state at the Ministry of Social Affairs, said.

He repeated his assertion that last week’s vote by imams was a media stunt and that the majority of Cham Muslims opposed the road, a claim proponent Othsman Hassan, a Labour Ministry secretary of state, denied.

Hassan urged that more weight be given to the imams from across Cambodia and the seal of approval from Grand Mufti Sos Kamry, rather than the protesters. “Those who support [me] are the representatives of their villages and communes and districts, but Ahmad Yahya’s supporters are only from Chraing Chamreh I and II [communes in Phnom Penh] – we need to make a clear division,” Hassan said.

He added both opponents and supporters of the road go to pray on Fridays and said the weekend’s demonstration was merely opponents taking advantage of a large congregation for political ends.

According to Phnom Penh Deputy Governor Khuong Sreng, Governor Pa Socheatvong was planning to meet with Yahya later today, but Yahya yesterday declared he would not “waste my time” and would send a representative instead.

He also hinted that certain road proponents had proved themselves to be “enemies of Islam”.

Sreng said City Hall was unlikely to change its position but instead hoped to sway opponents to see the benefits a road could bring.

“We are not going to continue building the road if the disagreement and conflict keeps going on like this; we need to negotiate,” he said. He added that opponents were simply misinformed and would agree after further explanation from the authorities.

Prime Minister Hun Sen has in the past nixed major development projects to appease angered residents.

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Mosque Road Splits Imam and Worshippers

Source: Cambodia Daily

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Hundreds of protesters rally against a planned road outside Al-Serkal Mosque in Phnom Penh on Friday. The issue has caused a rift in the Muslim community. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)

Cham Muslim meatball vendor Ly Nasy is loyal to his imam, his faith’s high religious leaders and the ruling party. But plans for a new road through the land surrounding the country’s largest mosque has put him at odds with all three.

Posted in ការតវ៉ាដីធ្លា បឹងកក់, Boeung Kak, Development, Land Depute, Land Dispute, The CambodiaDaily | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Boeng Kak New Year’s Blowout Draws Ire

Source: The Cambodia Daily

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Stalls are set up on Tuesday in preparation for a New Year’s Eve party on the site of the former Boeng Kak lake, from where the government has evicted thousands of families over the past decade. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)

Organizers of an $80-a-head, nationally-televised New Year’s Eve bash on the site of the former Boeng Kak lake are “dancing on Boeng Kak people’s tears,” an evictee from the neighborhood said on Tuesday.

Almost a decade after the government started evicting some 3,000 families from around the centrally located lake in 2008 to make way for a high-end real estate project backed by CPP Senator Lao Meng Khin, the water has turned to sand, condominium construction is underway, and the developer is inviting the city to party.
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Imams Reluctantly Back New Road Near Phnom Penh Mosque

Source: The Cambodia Daily

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Othsman Hassan, a Muslim community leader and Labor Ministry secretary of state, speaks outside Al-Serkal Mosque in Phnom Penh on Monday. (Hannah Hawkins/The Cambodia Daily)

Several hundred imams voted on Monday to support the placement of a new road near Phnom Penh’s most prominent mosque, even though many seemed critical of the plans to divide the land into two plots.

“My sense is that building the road cutting across will cause disorder and disturbances,” said Sman Rozet, an imam from Kompong Cham province who nonetheless voted in favor of the road’s placement.
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