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Still no mosque in Sochi as Winter Games approach

The Russian authorities have made no room for a mosque for Sochi's 20,000 Muslim residents, claiming that there was already a mosque nearby, referring to a one-room wood-frame building 50 miles away in a village of just 180 people, nowhere near the city's near light rail line.

Still no mosque in Sochi as Winter Games approach

World Bulletin / News Desk

As the world prepares itself for the Sochi Winter Olympics, which kicks off this weekend, Russia is preparing itself to host tourists from all over the world who are due to arrive at the Black Sea venue in the Caucasus.

However, while the location of the games is somewhat of a controversian issue, particularly for the Circassian diaspora who were driven out of their homes in Sochi in the millions by the Russian tsar in the late nineteenth century, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Circassian Muslims, the lack of a mosque in the city is also attracting criticism.

Despite preparing for this year's winter games since 2007, in what Russian president Vladimir Putin describes as "the biggest construction site on the planet," the lack of a mosque for Sochi's 20,000 Muslim residents may be a cause for concern for a city that is supposed to be hosting guests from all over the world.

The Muslims of Sochi have been campaigning for a mosque since 1996, but to no avail. "I'm so tired of writing letters—whole files—it just drags on and on," a Muslim organizer told the Norwegian news organization Forum 18 in 2006. In 2009 the Russian Muftis Council also asked for then-president and now-prime minister Dmitry Medvedev's support for a mosque in Sochi. Although Medvedev at the time agreed, the project was not followed up.

Instead, the authorities claimed that there was already a mosque nearby, referring to a one-room wood-frame building 50 miles away in a village of just 180 people, nowhere near the city's near light rail line. This of course is not sufficient for the Muslim residents of Sochi, who are already forced to pray is small, packed basements. Moreover, this is the only recognized mosque in or around the city, after the last mosque in the city was closed in 1930. There is however and Islamic Center with prayer rooms for men and women, but this will also not suffice the influx of Muslims expected to arrive for the games.

Talks are still ongoing to establish a mosque in Sochi, but doubt is being cast as many mosque projects that were approved in other cities were scrapped after public protests. The capital city Moscow has been a hotspot for protests, where the city's two million Muslims are forced to make do with just four mosques. 

Last Mod: 06 Şubat 2014, 10:59
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Don Davenport
Don Davenport - 5 yıl Before

They need a mosque in Sochi like a fish needs a Harley. However maybe you leftist loons can chip in to help pay for one.

Zack Barsik
Zack Barsik - 5 yıl Before

There is one Circassian residing in Sochi due to the genocide and ethnic cleansing....ask any resident of Circassian and they will be baffled....as for 50 miles away 5,000 Circassians are left from the 500,000 that used to reside on the Black Sea Coast.....Russian cartographer had documented 1,007 villages along coast now there is only 5........

Enough!
Enough! - 5 yıl Before

You don’t care that Muslims near Sochi have staged several terror/suicide bombing attacks which killed and injured many innocent Russians in the last few months. Or that virtually all the terror attacks in Moscow and the Chechen Muslim Caucasus region in the past 10 years have been by Muslims. No, all you care about is that Russian authorities have made no room for a mosque for Sochi’s 20,000 Muslim residents.

Mohammed
Mohammed - 5 yıl Before

Salaams,I am an expat working in the area and i can confirm there was a temporary warehouse which bothers were at least using for Jumma as of 3 weeks before the games even this was shut down by the Authorities.They really don't want to accommodate Muslims in my opinion.Currently the closest masjid is approx 80km distance if not more from where the winter Olympics are taking place.Contrary to cmoming out here i did not anticipate that in Russia this would be the situation of Muslims.