Monday, November 7, 2011

170,000 Muslims Pray in Moscow Streets

Tens of thousands of Muslim men knelt shoulder-to-shoulder in prayer in the freezing streets of Moscow on Sunday to celebrate the religious holiday of Eid al-Adha (known as Kurban-Bayram in Russia). Estimates of the number of Muslims living or working in the Russian capital run from 2 million to as high as 5 million, but the city only has a few mosques. Police said 170,000 people celebrated the holiday in Moscow, including 80,000 who gathered on the street outside what was once the main mosque. The 100-year-old pastel green Cathedral Mosque was torn down in September and a new mosque being built next to it is still under construction. Many of those who braved temperatures of minus 8 degrees Celsius (18 degrees Fahrenheit) to pray on Sunday morning were migrant workers from countries in Central Asia that were once part of the Soviet Union. Russia’s Council of Muftis said that this year, for the first time, the ritual slaughter of sheep was performed at 10 slaughterhouses on the outskirts of Moscow. In past years, Muscovites have complained angrily about the killing of sheep in the courtyards of apartment buildings in the city center. (video)

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