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Islamic Quarters Now Reality in Moscow
November 15, 2007 22:39

If believe the official numbers, nearly 2 million of Muslims live in Moscow. There are over 40 Muslim communities in different districts of the city. The majority of them are small groups united by business interests, but there are also some bigger groups whose ambitions lay beyond creation of a car service network or a couple of sales outlets in Moscow.

Creation of Muslim infant schools, clinics, and cultural-entertainment centres all these are plans of the Muslim community of Southern and Northern Bootovo districts of the city. This organization also initiates whip-rounds for building a local mosque. Recently, the community opened a matrimonial agency for the faithful and called it department of family and marriage in order to avoid misunderstanding.

Bootovo district of Moscow was not chosen for creation of Sheri-ah paradise by chance: nearly one third of all 200 thousand district dwellers are followers of the Moslem faith. According to the experts, most of the local Muslims are immigrants who bought their flats for knock-down prices when construction of their present houses only started. As a result Bootovo now has several streets almost entirely populated by Azerbaijani, Dagestani, Chechens, Tartars, etc.

According to chairman and imam of the Muslim community of Bootovo called Milost Marat Alimov, the cultural centre that the community is going to build must include a mosque, halal shop without alcohol drinks, infant school, leisure centre, the Internet, Muslim cinema, theatre, conference-hall, and a good 5-star hotel, where it could be possible to find SPA and beauty salons providing services separately for women and men. There must be fitness centre and swimming pools for men and for women only. Marat Alimov also reminds that a Muslim clinic is opening in the neighbouring district Tekstilschiki soon. Now the clinic is hiring qualified doctors: here there will be male doctors for men and female doctors for women. Besides, the clinic will also have a halal café. The clinics insurance will be available to every Moscow citizen to buy.

Marat Alimov also says that the community is not trying to isolate itself from the rest of society but to organize the local Muslims according to the Muslim principles. At the same time it will be possible for other non-Muslim children to visit the communitys nursery school if their parents want so. Will they want it or not is another question.

The Muslim community Milost in Bootovo is not so numerous at the moment it is regularly visited by around 100 people. However, in a long-term perspective Marat Alimov wants to unite the whole expat community of the district under his organization. According to unofficial data, the number of Muslim expats in Bootovo reaches 60.000 people. If gradually here there will be built Muslim schools and nursery organizations, it will no longer be just a community but a certain Islamic territory on the Moscow map. A generation grown up in according with Shariah Islamic laws can hardly assimilate in the capital of a secular state, which is most likely to lead to isolation.

However, the situation with Bootovo district is exceptional rather than typical. Although the number of Muslims is also high in South-Western and South-Eastern districts of Moscow, the Muslim population there mainly unites in accordance with their nationality, not religious faith.

Lavrentyeva Natalya


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