Russian President Vladimir Putin and the head of the Council of Muftis of Russia Ravil Gainutdin have inaugurated the updated Cathedral mosque in Moscow. Together with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the leader of the Palestinian national authority Mahmoud Abbas, Mr. Putin attended the rebuilt mosque complex in Moscow to commemorate the event.
Before entering the main hall of the mosque, Mr. Putin and his guests followed a Muslim tradition by removing their shoes, an example followed by the members of the Palestinian and Turkish delegation. Ravil Gainutdin told Interfax: "For the Moscow Cathedral mosque many elements made exclusive," while Turkey's Erdogan took note that no such additions exist in his country. According to the news, the Moscow mosque is possessed of interior embellishments that make it somewhat unique. Mr. Gainutdin also made a note to thank the Russian president and Mayor of Moscow, Sergey Sobyanin for the help in the organization of the duty-free imports of marble for the reconstruction of the Cathedral complex.
The mosque complex's reconstruction was intended to increase the edifice's capacity substantially. Now the place of worship can accommodate as many as 10,000 attendees of services at one time. Mr. Putin addressed attendees of the ceremony on the Cathedral Mosque's opening with "heartfelt congratulations" on the momentous event for Muslims in Russia. The Moscow mosque is now the largest in all Europe, and as Mr. Putin expressed, a pivotal icon of a multi-ethnic and denominational Russia. The Russian president went on to describe the place of worship's remake:
"It was given a magnificent modern new look worthy of the capital of our united, multi-ethnic and multi-confessional country. This new mosque is worthy of Russia, in which, I want to stress, Islam, under our country’s law, is one of Russia’s traditional religions, with millions of our citizens counting themselves among its followers."
Mr. Putin took the opportunity to recall Moscow's Muslim roots, telling those present about the city's medieval past, the the Tarar roots revealed in the city's street names, as well as other cultural linkages in Russia. Putin also elaborated on the importance of educating Muslim youth in traditional Islamic values in an effort to "prevent attempts to impose on them world outlooks that are alien, and have nothing to do with genuine Islam." He went on to speak of authorities assisting in reviving Russia’s system of Islamic theological schools and religious education as well.