Sign In / Up

Add contribution as a guest

Your email will not be displayed publicly
Benefit of signing in/signing up to personalize comment

Comment as a guest

Your email will not be displayed publicly
Benefit of signing in/signing up to personalize comment


Not a member Register   Forgot Password
or connect using





In Moscow, more Muslims than mosques


By: Anya Ardayeva  

MOSCOW, Russia – The Russian capital Moscow is growing increasingly Islamic, as the number of Muslims in the city has increased to over 1.5 million in the past decade, according to Russia’s chief imams.

There are hundreds of mosques in Moscow, but not enough to accommodate the huge number of worshippers, forcing many to pray on the streets.

In 2015, more than 160,000 Muslims attended prayers marking the Eid holiday, according to the Moscow police.

“A large number of labor migrants come to our mosques and during holidays our mosques -- there are only four of them in Moscow now -- of course they are overcrowded and most of our believers pray outside, in the rain, in the sleet,” said Iman Rushan Abbyasov, deputy head of the Council of Muftis.

When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, Russia had only 100 mosques left. Some 8,000 were built in the past 24 years – but not in Moscow. The official census data from 2010 suggests there are over 400,000 Muslims living in the Russian capital.

According to experts the number of Muslims in the city has grown dramatically in the past two decades due to increased migration from predominantly Muslim Central Asia, Azerbaijan and Russia's North Caucasus.

“The real number is definitely higher,” said Alexei Malashenko, an expert at the Carnegie Endowment. “This includes both Muslims who live here as well as registered migrants. We simply do not have exact statistics.”

Muftis put the number of Muslims in Moscow at 1.5 million. If they are right, the Russian capital has the second-largest Muslim population after Paris which, with 1.7 million Muslims, hosts the largest population of any European city.

Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin has ruled out building more mosques, saying would be "over the top." He added that Muscovites are becoming irritated by people who speak a different language and have different customs.

The statement provoked anger among Muslims.

The opening in September of the Cathedral Mosque, which was Moscow’s main mosque before it closed for renovations a decade ago, is not expected to solve the shortage of prayer space, Muslims say. They explain that, like the other mosques, it can accommodate no more than 10,000 worshippers at a time.

In contrast to mosques, churches in Moscow have flourished in recent years. 

There are currently 383 active Russian Orthodox churches in the capital.  Five years ago, the city launched a "200 churches" program, aimed at building churches in every district of the city. 

Many of these new buildings often remain empty, while more and more Muslims are seen praying in the streets outside mosques. 


Data pager
Page size:
JPL | 28/8/2015
What a stupid title! There are also more Catholics in Rome than Churches. In Saudi Arabia there are more Muslims than Mosques. In Iraq there are more Muslim than Mosques. In Jordan there are more Muslim than Mosques. In every Muslim country there are more Muslims than Mosques. who cares about Mosques and Muslims!!! Is that our biggest problem now???
Roj | 28/8/2015
What a shitty story!!! I can't believe I wasted my time reading it.
Shish kebab is Akbarrr | 29/8/2015
Islam is a curse. Anyone who follows it will become retarded in life.
Good | 29/8/2015
It's only fair that Russia is inundated with refugees from Muslim countries given the genocidal and destructive role that Russia played in Afghanistan, Chechnya and Syrian conflicts.
Asa Tsukuda | 29/8/2015
Convert to Christians and save your miserable lives and stay in your miserable countries

Be Part of Your Rudaw!

Share your stories, photos and videos with Rudaw, and quite possibly the world.

What You Say

Renas | 4/25/2019 9:24:53 AM
Not Sulaimani police, PUk police. I don't know very much about NG, but the corruption in Kurdistan is really absurd. It is a bit ridicilous when...
High-level New Generation member arrested: Sulaimani police
| 6 hours ago | (1)
Kurdo | 4/24/2019 12:30:46 PM
jews actually saved turks from being molested and whiped out to protect the state of israel. aka ataturk. and his legacy is still there today. so our...
Mann | 4/25/2019 8:02:11 AM
@Kurdo If u love ur country and people so much, why u dont live in Kurdistan? Why u live in Europe? Its easy to talk like u, and live in...
Erdogan leaves parliament, blames HDP for not reciting Turkish anthem
| yesterday at 11:35 | (4)
John Bird | 4/25/2019 5:35:03 AM
Shaswar Abdulwahid appointed his sister Srwa as the head of the party’s public relations in Baghdad without considering anyone’s opinion within the...
New Generation dissidents demand separation of business, family, politics
| 17 hours ago | (1)
SOCIALISM XXL | 4/25/2019 4:20:32 AM
Only system that can secure the future of kurds and others in middle east is socialism. We tried everything else and the only positive feedback we...
Armenians in northern Syria establish armed force
| 19 hours ago | (1)

Elsewhere on Rudaw

We will accept ‘all’ Yezidis return in the community: Top spiritual council 2 hours ago |

We will accept ‘all’ Yezidis return in the community: Top spiritual council

The statement does not say if they will accept more
US loosens sanctions for interacting with IRGC-linked entities 4 hours ago |

US loosens sanctions for interacting with IRGC-linked entities

The change allows US officials and businessmen to more
0.891 seconds