Eid al-Fitr in Moscow: a holiday on the pavement

Despite the torrential rain and cold, even for Moscow weather in October, about 150,000 people took part in a festive prayer on Friday on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr.
Long before the prayer all the surrounding streets were filled mosques people. Thousands of believers spreading out their mats directly on the asphalt — places of worship in all rooms is not enough.

"Yes, we're standing on the tracks and sidewalks. Machines do not go, the streets are blocked. But because if the mosque was a place for everyone, we would not come here. People gathered here to pray, and nothing more ", — says parishioner Moscow Cathedral Mosque Abutalibov Shahs.

Operating in the Russian capital, five mosques can accommodate only about 10 thousand people, while the Muslims, according to experts in Moscow, home to more than 2 million.

To be able to pray in the church, not in the street — the legal right of everyone, the deputy chairman of the Russian Council of Muftis Rushan Abbyasov.
"The number of Muslims in Moscow is increasing. And if the people will not be able to pray in the mosques — under the leadership of educated imams — they will look for other places to collect. We have received information that held joint prayers in the markets, construction sites. And all this is done without any coordination with the clergy. Who and what ideology preaches there — it is very difficult to control, "- said in an interview with the Mufti of the Russian service Bi-bi-si.
Mufti Council hopes to build in Moscow at least 10 mosques — one in each administrative district. However, while these attempts are resisted the capital city.

Break the stereotype

In September, a coordinated plan for the construction of a mosque in Mitino was abandoned after natural rallies.
Then went out to the streets of 1,5 thousand people. The participants said that the appearance of the mosque could lead to traffic jams in the area and can cause serious security problems, and some admitted that they are afraid of "invasion of Muslims."
In November 2010, a similar thing happened in the area of textile workers.
"I think people are scared of the unknown. The media often refer to Islam only in connection with the attacks and pogroms. Not surprisingly, members of our communities meet their guard, — said Abbyasov. — But it is the Muslims begin to actively participate in the social life of a region, to help their neighbors, as the ratio is changing. "

"Fragile Balance"

The Moscow government insist that any of the denominations no priority approach, all are equal. Simply request the representatives of different faiths — different. Someone arrange conventional building, and someone needs minarets and steeples. Moreover, religious communities are not always on time all the necessary documents, highlighted in the department.
Over the past 15 years in Moscow were dozens of churches of different religions, but was not built any new mosque.
Muslims have been allowed only for the reconstruction of the Moscow Cathedral Mosque. The historic building was demolished in September 2011. In its place, a new built — with a capacity of more than five thousand people. And that is enough for the indigenous Muslims in Moscow, according to city authorities.
"Congestion mosques there first because there comes a lot of migrants. First of all migrant workers. Muslims of the number of people registered in Moscow, would have been enough prayer existing institutions ", — said the BBC, BBC Head of Relations with Religious Organizations of the Government of Moscow, Konstantin's Cathedral.
The official confirmed that the negotiations on the creation of new mosques under way, but to give even an approximate date of the start of construction at least one — refused.
"You know, you can not make quick and rash actions. This can disrupt the prevailing fragile sectarian balance "- said blissfully.

Olga Ivshina
Bi-bi-si, Moscow

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