Moscow’s largest mosque has reopened, after a decade of construction work.
Built on the site of the former Moscow Cathedral Mosque, the Jum’ah mosque has been built to accommodate 10,000 worshippers. Reconstruction work began in May 2005, but four years ago the old building was completely demolished to make way for a new structure.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, along with Turkish and Palestinian leaders, was in attendance at the opening today. Mr Putin praised the place of worship as a centre of spirituality and education that would unite people of different faiths and praised the “humanist values” of Russia’s Muslim community, which he described as having made “an enormous contribution to Russian history”.
According to Rushan Abbyasov, deputy chairman of Russia’s Council of Muftis, the cost of building the mosque totalled approximately US$170 million, with construction funded entirely by donors. The biggest share of the construction costs came from Russian businessman Suleiman Kerimov, who provided US$100 million. Donations also came from foreign governments, including Turkey, Kazakhstan and the Palestinian Authority.
Although the new mosque holds ten times more people than its predecessor, and is the biggest mosque in Russia aside from those in the republics of Chechnya and Dagestan, Moscow still lacks sufficient mosques to accommodate its large Muslim population, with only six mosques in the city. Moscow has the largest Muslim population of any city in Europe, with around 2 million Muslim inhabitants.