No new mosques for Moscow, says mayor
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The mayor of Russia's capital city Moscow said that there would be no new mosques built to serve the increasing Muslim population of the city.
Moscow’s mayor Sergei Sobyanin has declared that no new mosques will be built in his city, despite the cities four mosques being inadequate for the huge influx of Muslim workers who have settled in the Russian capital as of late.
Two million migrant workers now live in Moscow, with most of them being Muslims from central Asia and the Caucuses. On Fridays and Islamic holidays, most of them are forced to pray outside on the streets due to insufficient space in the few mosques available.
Although admitting that Moscow could not survive without them, Sobyanin told Komsomolskaya Pravda in an interview that no new mosques would be built in the city, saying that the city had no responsibility to cater for outsiders.
Illegal immigration of outsiders to the city is stirring ethnic tension among the predominantly Slavic people of Moscow, the mayor warned.
Around 20% of Russia’s population is Muslim, and under the post-Soviet constitution drawn up in 1993, Muslim citizens are supposed to have equal rights with the other three founding religions, Christianity, Judaism and Buddhism. However, most Muslims are situated outside of the capital city, and the recent influx of Muslims to Moscow in order to fulfill its need for cheap, unskilled labor has left Slavic Muscovites in a dilemma.
Rushan Abbyasov, the chief of staff of Russia's Council of Muftis, complained that there are not enough mosques in the city to serve the Muslim population, adding that the current amount should at least be doubled. Sobyanin disagrees, saying that the four mosques are sufficient.