Monday, March 04, 2013

No New Mosque Says Moscow Mayor, Labeled Islamophobe

As of the 2010 Russian census, Moscow had a population of 11.5 million, though some estimate it to be between 13 and 17 million- factoring in legal and illegal immigrants, and migrants from former soviet republics.  At least 2 million of those citizens are Muslim, and as a result the demographics of the city are changing.  

There are four mosques situated in the capital city- not enough to accommodate the growing numbers of adherents and converts.  They want more mosques so thousands don't have to pray in the streets, sometimes in the snow, but non-Muslims are starting to balk. Sergei Sobyanin, the mayor of Moscow, has said there will be no new mosque in his city, and that the migrants (who have moved to the city for a better life) are a "harmful thing." He, in turn, has been called Islamophobic.

The EU Times reported Sobyanin said building mosques for everyone who wants them would be over the top. He added: “Muscovites now get irritated by people who speak a different language, have different manners, with aggressive behavior. This is not purely ethnic, but this is connected with some ethnic traits.

Of course, not building those mosques means the lives of non-Muslims will continue to be disrupted by the throngs praying in the streets during Friday prayers, but Sobyanin is not relenting. This has pissed off the Muslim community, since he had apparently considered plans for a new mega mosque and cultural center last year. They have said they will go over his head, straight to Putin, to get their mosque, and it probably will be built.

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