Saturday, April 15, 2023

Moscow May Get a Fifth Mosque but Not Before Conflict Spreads Far Beyond Ring Road

Paul Goble

Staunton, Apr. 7 – Earlier this year, the Muslims of Moscow who number more than a million but have only four mosques, thought they had the agreement of the city to build a fifth in the Holy Lake region there. But local people and Orthodox activists staged protests and the city backed down.

Initially, it appeared that the Muslims would once again be denied the right to build a new mosque; but then Ramzan Kadyrov, head of Chechnya who views himself as the defender of all Muslims in the Russian Federation, intervened and Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin said that a new mosque could be erected but not in the Holy Lake district.

(Kadyrov was not the only non-Muscovite to intervene on behalf of the Moscow Muslims. The exile government of the Republic of Tatarstan did as well (

Instead, the mayor said that the Muslims would be allotted another place closer to the center of the city with enough space for “an extremely modest” mosque, an indication that if a Muslim center is built, it won’t be large and an action many Muslims find insulting ( and

Kadyrov accepted Sobyanin’s decision as a suitable compromise, but the fact that the problems of the Muslims of Moscow have now extended beyond the ring road means that future conflicts about religious facilities as well will involve outsiders means there are likely to be more and more intense conflicts in the future (

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