It is true that the Prophet (saw) said “Whoever builds a masjid for Allah, Allah will build for him likewise in Paradise.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Muslim].
Indeed it is a commendable act from Islam. The unfortunate thing is that many Muslims fail to realise the significance of the masjid and how it fits within an overall context of the Islamic civilisation. Masaajid were never intended to be places where Muslims were permitted to pray with the permission of secular laws rather the role was far greater than that.
Whenever the Muslims in the past opened a new land they would build a masjid , not just to establish prayer , but rather to make it a base for interaction with the locals about Islam. Due to the extra reward for living on the ribaat (the frontiers) many ulema and dervishes would move to these areas. Islam was implemented over the people yet they were not compelled to accept Islam but when they saw the justice of the shariah many became Muslims and they were taught about the Islamic obligations. Effectively masaajid were used as base for integrating people from newly opened lands into the Islamic ummah.
In the last year or so it has become quite clear that the masaajid in the West can actually be used by authorities to control their populations and comply with the dictates of government. The unnecessary social distancing and masking issue is a glaring example of this where masjid committees unquestioningly go the extra mile to comply with what the authorities order. In the coming years we will see the masaajid will be increasingly used as tools of western states to manage their Muslim populations. All that glitters isn’t gold, whilst Islam commends the building of masaajid it does so in the framework of Islam as a way of life , so we as Muslims need to understand the realities accurately including the context.
In the West these days most Muslims view the masjid as a place simply to pray and have accepted that it is an acceptable worship that is allowed by the secular system whilst they largely ignore the rest of the deen- there is a stark difference between the masaajid Muslims build today and those in the era of Islam. Whilst many zealously spend all their activism (and it is a good deed) and work for constructing masaajid – most sadly forget that the Masjid is a representation of a civilisation that needs to be restored. If only they realised that more important work according to the Islamic scale of values would be carrying the dawah to restore the Khilafah.