A representative of the Council of Muftis of Russia, First Deputy Chairman of the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of the Russian Federation, a member of the Public Chamber Damir Mukhetdinov published an article in social networks where he drew parallels between the relations of officials to the issue of building Orthodox churches and mosques. He was motivated by the mass protests of Yekaterinburg residents against the construction of an Orthodox church and the reaction of the authorities to the conflict situation.
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Here it is appropriate to speculate about how the pros and cons of the Muslims treat all these confrontations. And broad sections of thinking Muslims, in fact, come to disappointing conclusions for themselves. The problem of lack of mosques and religious sites, especially in megacities, is an order of magnitude sharper for Muslims than for Orthodox. However, with the formal equality of Russian citizens and the inclusion of Islam among the four traditional religions of the Russian Federation, the attribution of many regional authorities to the needs of Muslims is more than dismissive.
The Orthodox of the Sverdlovsk region see and compare the actions of local and regional authorities in relation to the Orthodox church and the mosque and this is what they see: officials protect and lobby for the project of the temple and quite the opposite attitude to the aspirations and needs of Muslims. Despite the fact that some citizens have already rejected the idea of building an Orthodox church three times, officials say they are ready to pick up four more sites (I don’t mind the fact that they are far from being in the backyards of the city, but in prestigious areas of the Ural capital), to offer their own arrangements of the temple and make it clear their intention to finish the job.
At the same time, there were no protests against the construction of the Cathedral Mosque, there were tens of thousands of signatures collected in defense of the mosque, but the political will to take into account the interests of the autochthonous Tatar-Bashkir population of the Urals, who made a great contribution to the formation and development of the famous Urals metallurgical industry, It was not, and not for more than 20 years. On the contrary, one reads the desire to torpedo the needs of Muslims while simultaneously demanding to demolish a temporary mosque building.
And in this regard, Ekaterinburg is not the only one of its kind. In 2010, the federal information agenda included the problem of building a mosque on Volzhsky Boulevard in the South-East of Moscow, where the Tatars settled compactly in Soviet times, and in recent years – labor migrants (the so-called “Mosque in the Textile Workers”). At protest rallies, the population of the region was less than the nationalist activists who came to these gatherings in an organized manner. The Muslim community requested from the city a plot on a wasteland, in an industrial zone, at a distance from the boulevard itself. But local residents said they would like to see a well-maintained park at this place, because there are not enough green areas in their area. The church also responded to the plot, calling upon the decision of the question of building a mosque in Textile workers to take into account the opinion of local residents. In 2010, the mosque project was curtailed, and the following year, a project was launched to build 200 churches within walking distance in the capital (in fact, 380). In the same place on Volzhsky Boulevard, in the immediate vicinity of the boulevard, two Orthodox temple complexes have grown. And how many churches during this time were built against the wishes of local residents and at the expense of green areas? We, hand on heart, have already gone astray.
The sad list goes on and on: the mosque in Kaliningrad, which is practically completed with all the permitted documentation, which the authorities are demanding to demolish, and the building of the historical mosque in Rostov-on-Don for sale, although according to the law on restitution it must be handed over to Muslims and many other plots. I think it would be appropriate to share moralism with regard to bureaucrats of different levels: you can’t divide people by religion for years, split society and divide people into varieties, and then complain about the lack of civil consent, the troublemakers and the always dissatisfied citizens.