At the Layan community, a small port-a-cabin serves as the only mosque for Muslim residents of about 800 villas. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dubai: Building a mosque doesn’t seem to be high on some developers’ agenda as a number of new communities developed over the last few years in Dubai have either no mosques or just a makeshift arrangement which is hardly sufficient on Fridays or during Ramadan.

Ranging from popular localities like Jumeirah Beach Residence and Jumeirah Lakes Towers to Shorooq and Ghoroob communities in Mirdif, the areas have most facilities that a modern resident would want except for a mosque.

Similar is the case in other communities such as International City, Al Waha and Layan on the Dubai Bypass Road or Al Khail Gate.

Though the residents claim that the developers and real estate agents sell or rent properties claiming all facilities including mosques, the reality is different.

“When I bought the property a couple of years ago, I was told that the community will have all the facilities including a mosque. I have a letter with me from the developer that clearly says so. But when I moved here I found the situation contrary to their claims,” said Adel Shaikh, a resident of Al Waha community that has around 350 villas.

Al Waha is next to Layan community, where a makeshift arrangement has been made recently. A small port-a-cabin that can hardly accommodate a couple of dozen people serves as the only mosque for both the communities that combined have around 800 villas, with a sizeable Muslim population.

“After several complaints they have made this [port-a-cabin] arrangement, which is really inadequate. It can hardly accommodate a handful of worshippers. The mosque being in Layan community is also far away from my house which is in Al Waha,” said Mazen Bira, who has been living in his two-bedroom villa since last year.

Though a lack of mosques is a primary cause of concern for many residents, there are also other issues that bother many.

“I have been staying in Dubai for the last 17 years and apart from job opportunities my primary reason for staying here is to give my children an Islamic upbringing. When I bought the property here I was made to understand that there will be a mosque here apart from a clinic and other facilities, which are non- existent as of now,” commented an angry resident.

A spokesman for the Dubai Property Group (DPG), which developed the two communities, said that DPG is committed to developing communities and destinations and providing all the usual facilities expected by residents and visitors.

“Large scale developments such as Al Waha, Layan and Al Khail Gate take time to reach their full developmental potential and this includes establishing the necessary measures to provide a mosque. However, in all communities temporary mosques have been provided (one for Al Waha and Layan jointly, given the proximity),” said the spokesperson also alluding to the gated community in Al Quoz, whose residents are still waiting for a mosque promised last year that hasn’t materialised.

The DPG spokesperson also said that temporary arrangements have also been made in its other popular communities Shorooq and Ghoroob and that the company is in negotiations with IACAD to identify a suitable donor to establish permanent mosques in these communities.

Residents also face similar issues in International City, which is developed by Nakheel, where there are several temporary arrangements but a permanent solution is elusive despite repeated promises.