Controversial mosque in MOSCOW will not be built
The hotly contested mosque construction at Tekstilshchiki will not go ahead and a kindergarten will go in its place.
Growing numbers of migrant workers from the predominately Muslim former Soviet states in Central Asia are placing increasing strain on Moscow’s mosques and religious leaders fear that devout young men arriving for work and used to hearing religious authority will be left in a challenging environment without spiritual guidance.
Locals have nonetheless dug their heels in over building a place for Muslims to worship on the wasteland, where residents have called for a park.
“Earlier on, architects prepared a potential draft for discussion at public hearings over the issue of building a mosque. The decision was afterwards taken to not build a Mosque,” Vladimir Zotov, south east district prefect, told Interfax, as cited by NewsMSK.
A kindergarten will go in its place, the local council has decided.
“Some politicians tried to extract some political capital from this,” Zotov added. “Personally, I think it is sad that these public figures tried to manipulate citizens’ religious feelings.”
No house for God
Supporters of the mosque say the authorities only listen to one religious voice, the influential Russian Orthodox Church, to the exclusion of others, ignoring the increasingly multicultural face of Russian society.
But at the other end of town, at Strogino, protest was no less muted over plans to build a church, suggesting the issue could be down to more people and more pressure on green space. It remains to be seen how locals will react to a kindergarten; pressure on places in childcare is no less a burning issue.
Either way, locals have been dubious about assurances from the powers that be thus far. The rumpus erupted in September and has dragged on since then, with protests raising the local roof.
Zotov has said before that the mosque will not be built but has yet to win public trust. So far nobody has produced any documents cancelling building orders. Sceptics say that the building papers appeared on the prefecture’s website in July 2010 but that none cancelling that proposal have appeared.
Locals have so far organised car protests, planted trees on the disputed area and written to Mayor Sergei Sobyanin.