Mosque Opening in Moscow Attended by Putin, Abbas, Erdogan – AP
MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin has been joined by the Turkish and Palestinian leaders at the ceremonial opening of the Russian capital’s new main mosque.
An estimated 2 million Muslims now live in Moscow, which has seen an influx of people from the North Caucasus republics of southern Russia, Azerbaijan and the former Soviet states in Central Asia.
The new mosque — built on the site of a smaller, more than 100-year-old mosque destroyed in 2011 — can accommodate 10,000 worshippers, but it is still one of only six mosques in the city. Calls from Muslim religious leaders to build more mosques have met with opposition from city officials and residents.
Putin was joined at Wednesday’s ceremony by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.