GeriGündem Ertugrul Ozkok: Why don't mosques produce an annual report?
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Ertugrul Ozkok: Why don't mosques produce an annual report?

I noticed the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church during my outing on the streets of New York on Sunday and decided to go inside.

I noticed some brochures at the entrance related to the facilities associated with the church.


One brochure in particular grabbed my attention, it was entitled: "Annual report and financial report".


As an executive, I have seen many and been involved in the preparation of numerous annual and budgetary reports and was extremely surprised to see such a report associated with a place of worship. Until this point, I had never seen such a document prepared for a place of worship.


For this reason, I took special note of what it contained.


* * *


Beginning with the church budget and cuts to expenditure since 2005, the budget and annual report details the main areas where cuts have been made including the meal program, education, the choir and advertising.

According to the report the church’s foundation assets are worth $49 million.


I read the report from beginning to end, it included all of the church’s financial details, such as I have just mentioned, and even the financial resources are listed briefly in the report.


The report revealed to me that the church was being administered like a real company, and the most important aspect is that this entity is being control by an independent audit company.


The report also included the audit company's report.


This showed that the income and spending of the church's administration had also been audited.


And all this detailed financial information is presented to the church community.


Can a place of worship be administered like a company?


Should it be administered in such a way?


In my opinion, yes it should?


In other words, it is very important for the administration of such institutions to be "transparent" and be liable to render their accounts to their community.


Of course, mosques in Turkey come to mind when we read such a report.


I can hear you saying at this point, "In Turkey, the government pays the salary for imams," and that this comes from common budget of the Department of Religious.


But the issue is not so simple;


Money is collected from worshipers after Friday prayer service and on religious holidays.


Donations are also sent from abroad.


Some of you may think that those collecting money in the name of God would not be irresponsible with these funds.


But our memories and experiences tell us differently.


What I am saying is, those donating money outside mosques after praying may do so with the best intentions, but those collecting might not spend it with good intentions.


At this point, I am not even going to mention companies like "YIMPAS" claimed to be founded in "belief".


* * *


This report raises in my mind the question of "Can places of worship have annual reports, budgets and balance sheets?"  


My answer is: "Yes".


And they should because:


When these earnings of a place of worship are not clearly and openly presented to the religious community, the funds that are collected from the well-meaning religious community can be used for unrelated activities; these adverse activities are slowly leading to the deterioration of society.



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