A Qatar-based Hindu businessman is constructing a mosque in Kerala
with the aim of promoting communal harmony. He claims it will be
the first mosque to be built in the state by a Hindu in over 1,200
"Construction is going on. The mosque will be ready in two-three
months. Over 400 people can offer prayers in that mosque at a
time," Cheril Krishna Menon, a prominent NRI businessman in the
Gulf, told IANS in an interview here.
The mosque is coming up in Kozhikode.
Menon said so far the Cheraman Mosque, constructed in the late
eighth century by Chera ruler Rama Varma Kulashekhara, is the
first and only mosque built by any Hindu in Kerala so far.
Menon, who is chairman and managing director of the
Doha-headquartered Behzad Group of Companies, said he had taken
approval from Muslim scholars and religious leaders for building
"I have already taken letters from Muslim religious leaders and
scholars. They are okay with it. God is one and people should
respect and work for the promotion of other religions also," said
Menon, who was awarded the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman in 2006 and
Padma Shri in 2009 for social service. He was in India to attend
the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas last weekend.
Menon said he would continue to work for the promotion of all
Besides building the mosque, he is involved in the establishment
of a study centre in Thiruvananthapuram to spread awareness of the
He also plans to build a church in Kerala. "Once the mosque is
ready, I will start work on the church. We have already identified
the land but final decision is not taken yet," he added.
Menon, whose company operates in 13 countries, mainly in the
Middle East, emphasised the need to promote the culture of
philanthropy in India.
"Some people are already doing that, but a lot more needs to be
done. Businesses are making money because of the common people.
Every businessperson must give back to society a certain
proportion of their earnings," said Menon, adding he spends nearly
three percent of his earnings on philanthropic activities.
On his business expansion plans, Menon said his company will
invest Rs.100 crore on aluminium and steel fabrication plants in
"In the first phase, we are investing Rs.25 crore. Over the next
four years, our plan is to invest Rs.100 crore in India," he said.
The Behzad Group is mainly focussed on fuel transportation by land
and sea. The company recently ventured into steel manufacturing
(Gyanendra Kumar Keshri can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)