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Moscow Mayor says no to more mosques in the city

Published time: March 01, 2013 13:10
Edited time: March 05, 2013 08:07
Moscow Muslims celebrate Eid Al-Fitr with morning prayers. (RIA Novosti / Vladimir Astapkovich)

Moscow Muslims celebrate Eid Al-Fitr with morning prayers. (RIA Novosti / Vladimir Astapkovich)

The Mayor of Moscow says there are no plans to build a new mosque in the city, and says the 'excessive' number of economic migrants was a ‘harmful thing’.

It has turned out that the praying Muslims are not at all Russian citizens and they are not Moscow residents. They are labor migrants. There are only 10 percent of Moscow residents among them and building mosques for everyone who wants it – I think this will be over the top,” Sergey Sobyanin said in an interview with Moscow's Echo radio.

The top city official went on to say that “Muscovites now get irritated by people who speak a different language, have different manners, with aggressive behavior. This is not purely ethnic, but this is connected with some ethnic traits,” Sobyanin said.

At the same time, the Moscow Mayor explained that there are no ethnic enclaves in the city and expressed the hope that such enclaves would never appear as closed districts like that usually have a very high crime rate.

Sobyanin went on to say that the current quota of 200,000 migrant workers in the city and only 35 percent are skilled specialists. The official said that it was necessary to gradually decrease the share of unskilled workers and added that this could only be done if wages were raised.

According to some estimates Moscow has 10 illegal migrants for every registered one. This makes the number of unregistered foreign workers in the city to well over two million. In 2012 the authorities deported 16,000 foreigners from the city for working illegally.

Russian Muslims did not welcome the Mayor Sobyanin’s statement.

Co-chairman of the Councils of Muftis of Russia, Nafigulla Ashirov told the Russian News Service that Muslims did not agree with Sobyanin’s plans and that they would, if the need arises, address President Vladimir Putin with a request for help.