Thursday, December 14, 2023

Muslims Plan to Erect Fifth Major Mosque in Moscow Next Year

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Dec. 9 – Mufti Albir Krganov, head of the Spiritual Assembly of Muslims of Russia, says that the Moscow city government has given its approval for the construction of a religious complex in Novaya Moskva that will include the Russian capital’s fifth major mosque as part of a religious complex that will include a Buddhist shrine and a Jewish synagogue.

            But despite this announcement, city officials say that the plans are still under discussion and that no final decision has been posted, so it is not impossible that the city’s Muslim population will be disappointed once again. Krganov himself has been seeking to build a major mosque there for more than a decade (

            Construction has not yet begun, although the mufti says he plans to lay the cornerstone before the end of this year and complete the mosque and the entire religious complex before the end of 2024.

            At present, there are four major mosques in Moscow: the Cathedral, Historical and Memorial mosques under the Mufti Ravil Gainutdin who heads the Union of Muftis of Russia and a pair of mosques, serving Tatars and Azerbaijanis under Talgat Tajuddin, who is the head of the Central Muslim Spiritual Directorate (MSD) in Ufa.

            When Krganov came to Moscow a decade ago, he too was subordinate to Tajuddin. But I 2016, he struck out and formed his own structure, the Spiritual Assembly of the Muslims of Russia, and attracted many regional muftis who were no longer happy with Tajuddin. Since that time, he has sought but not had his own major mosque in the Russian capital

            The complex he has announced would fill that gap; and the civil authorities may in the end support his plans precisely because that would give the Kremlin greater leverage against Gainutdin, who has often been at odds with the powers that be and put Krganov in a position to be the dominant Muslim leader of Russia once the aging Tajuddin leaves the scene.

            But just how difficult it may be for Krganov to achieve his goal in this regard is highlighted by the fact that he has not specified how many of the faithful his planned mosque will accommodate, how much it will cost, and who is paying for its construction, all sensitive issues.

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