Putin opens Moscow Grand Mosque
Wed Sep 23, 2015
Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during the opening ceremony of the Moscow Grand Mosque on September 23, 2015. ©AFP
Russian President Vladimir Putin has inaugurated one of the biggest European mosques in the capital, Moscow.
“This mosque will become an extremely important spiritual center for Muslims in Moscow and the whole Russia,” Putin said in a televised speech during the inauguration ceremony on Wednesday.
The unveiling ceremony of the 20,000-square-meter mosque, known as the Moscow Cathedral Mosque, in the Russian capital was attended by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas and a host of other guests.From left to right: Russian tycoon Suleiman Kerimov, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Russian President Vladimir Putin, chairman of Russia's Council of Muftis Ravil Gainutdin and Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas attend the opening ceremony of the Moscow Grand Mosque on September 23, 2015. ©AFP
“It will be a source for education, spreading humanist ideas and the true values of Islam,” Putin underscored.
He went on to say that the mosque is a central part of Moscow’s efforts to counter recruitment by extremists.The Moscow Cathedral Mosque ©AFP
The Russian president further stated that terrorist groups such as Daesh Takfiri group have distorted the image of Islam.
Russia’s Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev estimated last week that some 1,800 Russian citizens are fighting for the Daesh terrorist group.
“Terrorists from the so-called Islamic State (Daesh) actually cast a shadow on the great global religion of Islam,” he said, adding, “Their ideology is built on hate.”
Putin said the Takfiri group "attempts to cynically exploit religious feeling for political ends. We see what is happening in the Middle East where terrorists from the so-called Islamic State group are compromising a great world religion, compromising Islam, in order to sow hate."
The USD170-million (EUR150-million) project, which took a decade to complete, can host over 10,000 worshipers.