Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin recently said he did not want any more mosques being built in his city, claiming it would attract more Muslims. Such open displays of anti-Muslim sentiment have been echoed elsewhere in Russia and show a deep rooted problem in the city of Moscow, which currently has a Muslim population of two million residents.
(Please note: This article was written by a Muslim sympathizer. BNI will refrain from posting snarky commentary, but you can)
Chicago Monitor While there are two million Muslim residents living in Moscow, there are up to two million more Muslim migrant workers, most of who immigrated from Soviet Central Asia. As of today, there are only four public mosques in Moscow. With this shortage, Muslims have to wait hours to enter a mosque. Currently, only one new mosque is under construction.
On Muslim holy days of Eid, they turn the streets of Moscow into sea of asses in the air, blocking vehicular and pedestrian traffic. The police standing among the headbangers must be thinking: “Great target practice!”
The mayor made his decision that he will not be issuing any more permits to build further mosques. Sobyanin said that these Muslims are from outside the city and “don’t have the right to be catered to” since they are not Russian citizens. However, he admits that the city’s economy would not be able to manage without these Muslim workers.
With 2 million legal Muslim residents in Moscow the four mosques cannot hold more than 10 thousand people, so new mosques are needed. This is a case of basic civil rights because it neglects these citizen religious needs. These Muslims need to be given the ability to practice their religion.
The Olympic athletes for the Olympic 2014 winter games were however, given a place a pray. The Sochi Olympics organizing committee made sure that prayer rooms were available for athletes. Not only for Muslims, but prayer rooms were available for various religion followers such as Christianity, Hinduism, and so on.
More than 10,000 Muslims pray outside the mosques on Muslim holidays which shows that more mosques are needed. Lack of room is problematic because Muslims need enough space to properly pray. Blocking permits under the grounds that more mosques will attract more Muslims into the country is an unjust assumption, which only shows what little respect Sobyanin has for Russian Muslims and their religious needs.
During Eid, Muslims used to sacrifice live animals by cutting their throats in the streets and letting them bleed to death, until the police put a stop to this filthy practice
While Moscow has four mosques, Sochi does not have any. Those 20,000 Muslims living in Sochi are living in a city where there is no space to practice their religion. The nearest mosque is more than a two hour drive from downtown Sochi. A drive there and back would take approximately 5 hours.
The Muslims living in Sochi have been campaigning for a mosque since 1996. In 2009, the Russian Muftis Council asked the prime minister for support to build a mosque in Sochi. The prime minister, Smitry Medvedev agreed to collaborate but the project was never followed through. Talks are still ongoing to finally build a mosque in Sochi, but it is highly doubtful that any mosque projects will be approved given the current political climate. Many other mosque building projects have been approved but subsequently overturned due to protests.
The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity, is proudly announcing that the U.S. military is again using their chaplains for active-duty service after a 15-year lull. ISNA has a well-documented extremist history. In 1991, the Muslim Brotherhood listed ISNA as one of its main fronts. Declassified FBI memos said ISNA is a component of the Muslim Brotherhood, who sees its “work as a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within.”
Clarion Project In 2007, the U.S. government labeled ISNA a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity and an unindicted co-conspirator in a terrorism-financing trial involving the Holy Land Foundation funneling money to Hamas. The label was upheld in 2009 because of “ample” evidence linking ISNA to Hamas. Last year, ISNA’s Canadian affiliate lost its status as a charity because of its accounting discrepancies and links to Pakistani terrorists.
The two chaplains endorsed by ISNA are Sgt. Mustapha Rahouchen, who will be used by the U.S. Army, and Captain Rafael Lantiqua, who was chosen by the U.S. Air Force.
In April 2013, the Clarion Project broke the story that the U.S. Air Force Chaplain Corps had paid ISNA almost $5,000 for two advertisements in its magazine. When we contacted the Air Force about ISNA’s ties to the Brotherhood, we received the following response:
“The Islamic Society of North America is one of many religious organizations recognized by the Department of Defense that satisfy the ecclesiastical requirements to endorse qualified religious ministry professionals to serve as chaplains within the Military Departments.”
This story speaks to the broader threat posed by Islamist involvement in Muslim chaplain programs.
The Muslim chaplaincy services for the military and prisons were started by Abdurrahman Alamoudi, who was convicted in 2003 on terrorism-related charges. He later admitted that he was a secret member of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood.
ISNA is one of the groups that the U.S. military trusts to certify Muslim chaplains. The military’s former endorsing agent was Dr. Louay Safi, an unindicted co-conspirator in the trial of Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Sami al-Arian. Al-Arian, like Alamoudi, later admitted to having been a Brotherhood operative.
Safi wrote in 2003, “The war against the apostates [non-believers of Islam] is carried out not to force them to accept Islam, but to enforce the Islamic law and maintain order.”
He continued: “It is up to the Muslim leadership to assess the situation and weigh the circumstances as well as the capacity of the Muslim community before deciding the appropriate type of jihad. At one stage, Muslims may find that jihad through persuasion or peaceful resistance is the best and most effective method to achieve just peace.”
In 2004, he said that the “assertion by ‘world leaders’ that the war on terrorism is not a war on Islam is nothing but a piece of propaganda and disinformation that was meant to appease Western Muslims and to maintain the coalition against terrorism.”
He was later suspended from working on U.S. military bases because of a criminal investigation. Safi is now working with the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood.
Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, a Muslim activist opposed to Islamism who served in the U.S. Navy, wrote in 2010 that a friend of his in the U.S. Army recently told him of his troubling interaction with an active-duty Muslim chaplain.
His friend asked the imam what his response would be if a Muslim soldier asked him if Islam prevented him from participating in combat against fellow Muslims. The answer should have been easy: Serve your country as you swore to do. Instead, the imam said he’d tell the soldier that he’s not qualified to answer the question and to ask ISNA.
Former Defense Department Inspector-General Joseph Schmitz was alarmed enough by loopholes in the system of vetting chaplains that allowed extremist organizations like ISNA’s involvement that he wrote a letter in 2010 describing his efforts to close them. He revealed in 2004 that he urged the Pentagon to adopt a policy that would prevent extremist groups, Muslim or otherwise, from involvement in the chaplaincy program.
He said that a policy should disqualify groups that support violent sedition, have an endorsing agent with a criminal history, are on a terrorism watch-list or have leaders convicted on terrorism-related charges. The Armed Forces Chaplains Board rejected his advice because it was “legally problematic.”
Here’s what’s really “problematic”: The U.S. government says ISNA is a Muslim Brotherhood entity and labeled it an unindicted co-conspirator in a terrorism trial. That same government is using ISNA to pick military chaplains and is a top outreach partner of the U.S. government.