Mosques in Japan, the US, France, the UK, and many other non-Muslim countries often face difficulty funding their regular religious activities. Sometimes, they do not have sufficient funds to give salaries to their staff or even pay their utility bills. Countries like France sometimes ban any foreign funding for establishing mosques or performing any other religious activities. Could we finance our mosques by imposing a Halal tax on Muslims living in these countries?
Current Sources of Masajid Funding
Based on our analysis, currently, most mosques in non-Muslim countries get their finances by using any of the following methods.
- Local donations during Friday prayers etc.
- Financing by wealthy Muslims living in the vicinity
- Funds collected by visiting other mosques in the country
- Seeking funds from foreign religious organizations, Muslim governments
Challenges To the Current Funding Models for Mosques
Mosques in non-Muslim countries have been facing challenges funding their regular activities mainly due to the following reasons. The required funds have been drying up after September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York. The worldwide restrictions imposed on the financial sector also make it difficult for our mosques to get funding from foreign sources.
- Foreign Muslim governments or religious organizations are reluctant to provide funds due to the fear of being labeled as terrorist financiers
- Even individual financiers in foreign countries are now less keen on sending funds to other countries as the international regulations for such funding have tightened up
Possible Alternatives for Funding Mosques in Non-Muslim World
- Impose Halal tax on Halal food purchases
- Build commercial properties affiliated with Mosques
- Make a common fund at the country level that could be used whenever and wherever needed to finance any mosque in need
- Use social media donation campaign
- Host a community event to collect funds
- Use contactless fundraising technology to collect donations as many countries are increasingly becoming cashless societies
Can We Implement These Mosque Funding Models Effectively?
Imposing Halal tax on Halal food purchases could be on a voluntary basis as not every consumer might be interested in paying this tax while purchasing Halal food. For this purpose, a central body of prominent Muslims could be formed to oversee the mosque financing model. Their job would be to guarantee transparent financing of mosques.
Another way we could help finance our mosques in these non-Muslim countries would be to build commercial properties in the name of mosques and then rent these properties out so that the money could be used to finance the regular activities and ongoing maintenance of these mosques. This funding model for mosques in Muslim-majority countries has been working successfully in many places.
Perhaps, state-wide organizations could manage these funds to maintain these mosques and invest that money in funding new mosques and other religious educational institutions as well.
There are plenty of ways Muslims could use to finance their local mosques. An effective coordination mechanism among Muslim community members could help collect the needed donations to run their religious institutions.