Religious Construction 'More Efficient' than Govt Projects

Money comes from donors but is also given to both Sunni and Shiite endowments by the federal government. In Karbala there is a special committee that supervises how money is spent on building projects like this one.

“This city is not the only one,” says Mohammed Hassan Kathem, who heads the engineering department at the Husayniyah Shrine. “There are three other cities built on roads linking Karbala and Baghdad, Babel and Najaf. Some of the cities are still housing displaced Sunni people from Anbar, who have been living there for two years. The next visitor city will be opening in a couple of months.”

The speed at which these kinds of complexes have been built, and the efficiency with which they are run, has called into question government-run building projects, which seem to be exactly the opposite: inefficient and extremely slow to completion. Locals also believe that the level of corruption within the supervising committees is very low.

The Imam Hussein al-Mujtaba city took three years to complete at the cost of US$35 million – the plans were drawn up by a local firm and parts of it were built by the religious endowment's own engineers. The whole project comes at a low cost when compared to government building projects where the contracted price is always much higher than the actual cost.

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