Monument to Akhmad Kadyrov  in Akhmat Kadyrov Street in Yuzhnoye Butovo District in Moscow. Photo: DragonOfDeath

13 November 2023, 21:24

Analysts explain Muscovites' protests against mosque by migrant-phobia

The Muscovites' protests against the construction of a mosque in Southern Butovo announced by Kadyrov have to do with their fears of the influx of migrants; the protests have no religious overtones, the analysts interviewed by the "Caucasian Knot" assert.

On September 28, 2023, after a meeting with Russian President, Ramzan Kadyrov stated that Vladimir Putin had approved the idea of building a new mosque in Akhmat Kadyrov Street in Southern Moscow. On November 7, it became known that activists had demanded to consult local residents prior making a decision on the mosque construction.

According to activists, local residents fear that the appearance of a mosque near their homes will lead to a transport collapse and disturb citizens' peace.

The construction of mosques in megacities outside the historical territory of Muslims' residence, including in Moscow, is a political issue, not a purely legal one, Rinat Mukhametov, a political analyst, has explained. According to his version, "the idea is like this: it is politically incorrect for new mosques to be built in Russian megacities."

In the opinion of Rinat Mukhametov, residents' protests against the construction of mosques are more related to the migrant-phobia than to Islamophobia or Caucasian phobia. "All protests against mosques are in the nature of protests against aliens, mainly against people from Central Asia. They are afraid of crowds and other problems," he has explained.

"We need to force authorities to stop linking the mosque issue with security, the "fight against extremism" and illegal migration. We need to engage in charity, volunteering and education; to show that mosques are not dangerous and even useful for people," Mr Mukhametov has stated.

Alexander Verkhovsky, a former head of the SOVA Centre* (before its liquidation, the Centre dealt with the problems of xenophobia and nationalism) agrees with the opinion that the opposition to the construction of mosques in Moscow is mainly associated with the migrant-phobia.

"They have few feelings towards Islam, like other religions. But they have negative feelings towards migrants and believe that people from Central Asia will come to the mosque," Mr Verkhovsky has stated.

*On August 17, 2023, the First Court of Appeal of General Jurisdiction approved the decision taken earlier in April by the Moscow City Court to liquidate the SOVA Human Rights Centre.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on November 13, 2023 at 06:00 pm MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

Source: СK correspondent

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