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© RIA Novosti. Ruslan Krivobok

Mosque construction in Mitino cancelled after protests

by at 21/09/2012 16:58

Moscow authorities cancelled plans to construct a Muslim center and mosque in Mitino after local residents took to the streets to protest the plans.

“The decision to cancel the construction was made after some Mitino residents objected to it,” an official City Hall statement said.

A plot of land on Ulitsa Baryshikha was set aside for the construction, but now authorities will look for a different location, Interfax reported.

Residents will be consulted

The issue of constructing churches, mosques and synagogues and other religious buildings needs to be approved by local deputies and residents, Moscow’s northwest district prefect, Vladimir Goverdovsky, said.

“Not one object like this will be constructed without the approval of the majority of deputies and thus the population.”

Hundreds of locals gathered on Wednesday night and some blocked Pyatnitskoye Shosse to protest over the planned Islamic center. Some 1,500 people were concerned that the center would attract thousands of Muslims to the area on religious holidays and affect the local traffic, safety and order.

The prefect tried to calm the locals, saying that the mosque would be the smallest in the city. However, locals think that there are other, more pressing issues to be solved first.

One of Mitino’s activists Vladimir Reshetin said that the locals would like to see “sport objects, public places, but no way a religious-humanitarian center,” Russkaya Sluzhba Novostei reported.

Authorities need to solve inter-ethic issues

Co-chairman of Russia’s Mufti council Nafigulla Khazrat Ashirov, in turn, criticized the authorities for cancelling the construction.

“If there is no possibility to build mosques, there will be a big exodus of worshipers from mosques to basements and flats. It is a problem of state importance. The spiritual department cannot solve this problem because there are bureaucratic contrived obstacles. It is a problem of inter-ethnic relationships, the problem of stability and security,” he said.

Choice of location criticized

However, Muscovites often protests against any religious constructions in the suburbs, arguing that parks and places for sport are more necessary. Plans to build mini-churches in Moscow’s courtyards caused protests from locals.

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