Government cannot take control of run-down mosque, UAE court rules

The Islamic Affairs & Endowments Authority (Awqaf) had filed a lawsuit against the mosque's owner, seeking control because the mosque was in a poor state of repair and cleanliness.

ABU DHABI // A dilapidated mosque built on private land cannot be shut down or taken over by the Government for failing maintenance standards, the Federal Supreme Court ruled on Thursday.

The Islamic Affairs & Endowments Authority (Awqaf) had filed a lawsuit against the mosque’s owner to take ownership of it because it was in a poor state of repair.

The Court of First Instance ruled that the owner should deliver it back to the authority.

The owner appealed but the Appeals Court upheld the original verdict.

He then took the case to the Federal Supreme Court, which accepted it and sent the case back to the Appeal Court again.

Here, the court assigned an expert to investigate who owns the land the mosque was built on.

This report showed that the land had been sold several times but now the Government was the rightful owner, meaning the mosque should be managed by Awqaf.

The case was referred again to the Supreme Court for Cassation.

Here, it was discovered that the expert’s report overlooked a number of pages in the the land registration documents that proved it belonged to the original owner.

It was ruled that Awqaf had no right to obtain ownership or close the building.

hdajani@thenational.ae

Published: May 22, 2014 04:00 AM

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