A parliamentary panel approved a $2 billion funding package to build the largest mosque in the Middle East, in the latest step toward the construction of a second mosque in Cairo, the state-run MENA news agency reported.
The construction of the new mosque will be financed through an international fund.
The parliament also approved an extension of the National Authority for Islamic Development’s (NAID) mandate until 2020, allowing it to provide for the construction and upkeep of the mosque, the agency added.
The committee also approved a proposal for a new mosque in Jeddah to be built on land previously used by a private mosque.
It is unclear whether the second mosque will come into effect before 2020.
In a separate development, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) also approved the construction plan for a mosque on the site of the former U.N. office building at al-Taybeh, near the coastal city of Mokha.
The NDRC’s decision comes as a political crisis in Egypt has pushed the government to build a new government-run mosque.
Egypt’s new president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, has said he wants to build mosques for all faiths, and the plan has prompted criticism that it could undermine the country’s secular constitution and impose strict Islamic rules on society.
The new mosque plan has angered religious minorities in Egypt, who say it could violate their rights and create an unsafe environment for worshipers.