MOSCOW, November 22 (RIA Novosti) – Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin’s words that the Russian capital has enough mosques has triggered an indignant response from an Islamic cleric, who replied that at least a dozen of them are needed instead of the existing four.
In an interview with the Komsomolskaya Pravda daily published earlier this week, Sobyanin dismissed reports that more and more mosques are being built in Moscow.
“I don’t know anything about new mosques. We’ve issued no construction permits,” he said on Wednesday. “Moscow has enough mosques, I believe.”
A deputy head of the Council of Russian Muftis, Rushan Abbyasov, said that as far as the number of mosques is concerned, the Russian capital held “an alarming last place among the world’s major capitals where the proportion of Muslim residents reaches statistically significant figures.”
He called the lack of mosques “one of the most important problems that the Russian capital’s Muslim community has to face” in a statement issued Thursday.
According to the cleric, there are currently four mosques in Moscow with a total capacity of 5,000 people serving the needs of an estimated 1.5 million Muslim residents.
He said at least one should be built in each of the Russian capital’s 12 administrative districts.
“In any case, it is completely obvious that the urgent task of building a mosque in every district of Moscow should be completed in the shortest time possible,” Abbyasov said.