September 12, 2011 - 13:35 AMT
Cathedral mosque pulled down in Moscow on Sept. 11

On September 11, 2011, the Russian capital saw the demolition of the historical Moscow cathedral mosque.

The workers pulled it down with special machinery while conducting reconstruction of the complex. Albir Krganov, first deputy head of the Central Spiritual Directorate of Muslims, Mufti of Moscow and Central region of Russia, said that the cathedral mosque is leveled to the ground. He was bewildered by the fact that the mosque was pulled down exactly on September 11. “Exactly 10 years after the terrorist act in the USA, Moscow saw its tragedy,” Interfax quotes Krganov as saying.

According to Ravil Gainutdin, Chairman of Council of Muftis of Russia, Moskomnasledie, which was reconstructing the mosque, assessed the cathedral mosque as of historical value. Meanwhile, on June 30, 2008 Bureau of Historical and Cultural Advisory Council (IKES) at Moskomnasledie decided to classify the mosque to the buildings of historical value. However, the decision was annulled in 2009. On January 21, 2009, at IKES meeting some attendees, member of Council of Muftis Damir Gizatullin among them, came up for demolition of the building, also due to its 8 degree deviation from the direction to Kaaba.

According to Ravil Gainutdin, even during the construction of the mosque at the beginning of the past century there had been a serious deviation from the direction to Mecca.

Centralized Islamic religious organizations in Russia, such as the Central Spiritual Directorate of Muslims, the Russian Association of Islamic Consent and others strongly criticized plans to demolish the historic mosque.

The Cathedral Mosque was built in 1904 on money of Tatar patron, merchant Salih Erzin. Prior to the Moscow Olympics in 1980 the cathedral mosque already faced demolition threat. But then metropolitan religious leaders and ambassadors from Arab countries saved it. At times, the Indonesian President Ahmed Sukarno (1955), Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser (1957), Libyan revolution leader Muammar Gaddafi (1969) visited the mosque.