Putin Opens New Mosque in Moscow
Night before Eid al-Adha, in Moscow opened central mosque whose construction lasted seven years. It is a joint project of Turkey and Russia whose presidents attended the ceremony, accompanied by the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas. The complex spreads over 19,000 square meters and can accommodate 10,000 worshipers.
Apart from Russian President Vladimir Putin, the ceremony was attended by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, as well as several thousand worshipers. About 20 million Muslims lives in Russia, of which in Moscow just over two and a half million. Until now, the biggest Russian city had four mosques and a number of buses that were used as places of worship.
At the opening, Russian president Vladimir Putin condemned the terrorist group of Islamic State. “Terrorists from the so-called Islamic State are compromising a great world religion, compromising Islam; sowing hatred; killing people, including clergy; and barbarically destroying monuments of world culture,” Mr. Putin said. “They are trying to recruit followers here in Russia, too. Russia’s Muslim leaders are bravely and fearlessly using their own influence to resist this extremist propaganda.”
Central Moscow mosque is the biggest Muslim place of worship in Russian capital which counts over 200 thousand worshipers. The new mosque was built on the place of the old one. The construction is worth $ 170 million and is fully financed by private donations, reports state agency TASS.
“The opening of the mosque is significant for multiple reasons. It is especially important for residents of Moscow, but also because of the message it sends. Moscow has always lacked mosques and this one will be able to accommodate 10 thousand worshipers, but that is not enough. Almost 2 million of Muslims lives in Moscow and close to 20 million in the entire Russia”, stated Al Jazeera’s reporter Peter Sharp. He also added that it is estimated that by 2050 half of the population in that country to be Muslims.
Sharp emphasized the importance of the message that Kremlin sent to other regions, especially in Dagestan and Ingushetia, where there is a large number of rebels. They hope that the news and pictures sent from here will attract sympathy in these regions.
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