Tatarstan president calls on Muslims from all over the world to donate to Cathedral Mosque

Kindness charity fund will raise the money

Tatarstan president calls on Muslims from all over the world to donate to Cathedral Mosque
Photo: Dmitry Reznov

The foundation stone laying ceremony of the Cathedral Mosque took place at former Kyrlay Park in Kazan on 20 May. The mosque is designed for 10,000 people, and its design will be known on 8 July, on the eve of Eid al-Adha, after an international contest. Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov called the parameters the mosque will have: its architecture should express the unique culture of the Tatars and be “majestic and recognisable.” The solemn event gathered all key Russian muftis who had been in disagreement earlier, Russian Vice Premier Marat Khusnullin opened the ceremony. Read the details from the scene in Realnoe Vremya’s report.

Drones “for history”

A huge wooden floor still smelling of fir and a stage with two huge screens were built before the ceremony at former Kyrlay Park where attractions used to be located. A memorable stone covered with a cloth was placed on top of it. The territory itself was adorned with sea-green flags with the symbol of the 1100th anniversary of the adoption of Islam by Volga Bulgaria.

The solemn event started with group salah. One could perform ablutions on a deliberately designed site behind a new construction fence in front of it. There were prepared identical grey-green prayer rugs volunteers handed over to everybody.

The solemn event started with group salah

Men traditionally were in the front, near the stage, and women were sitting separately on the right side. It is necessary to say the floor was big enough, the people who came occupied just half its size. People of different ages were among the participants in the ceremony — in official suits and jeans, in national Tatar hats, beanies and with their heads uncovered. In the crowd, Realnoe Vremya’s correspondent spotted Tatarstan Minister of Culturel Irada Ayupova, former State Duma deputy Fatikh Sibagatullin, historian and scientist Damir Iskhakov, Vice Chairman of the Tatarstan State Council Yury Kamaltynov and aide to the president, first Kazan Mayor Kamil Iskhakov joined them later.

As soon as the prayer began, two drones appeared in the air above the former park shooting the ceremony for history. Head of the Tatarstan Muslim Religious Directorate, Tatarstan Mufti, Hazrat Kamil Samigullin himself read Quran suras.

All muftis welcomed here

After the prayer ended, volunteers picked up the rugs and people started to actively take photos alone and in groups with the stage in the background. A motorcade of government cars and a column of buses with KazanSummit participants entered the dam separating the former Kyrlay Park from the beach.

VIP guests went down wooden stairs to the stage deliberately installed for this occasion. Vice Chairman of the Russian Government, Chairman of the Organising Committee for the Preparation and Celebration of the 1100th anniversary of the adoption of Islam by Volga Bulgaria Marat Khusnullin, Plenipotentiary Representative of the President in the Volga Federal District Igor Komarov, Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov, Chuvashia Governor Oleg Nikolayev, Governor of the Karachay-Cherkessia Republic Rashid Temrezov, Governor of the Kabardino-Balkaria Republic Kazbek Kokov, Governor of the Mordovia Republic Artyom Zdunov, Tatarstan State Adviser Mintimer Shaimiyev, Tatarstan Prime Minister Alexey Pesoshin were among them.

Russian Vice Premier Marat Khusnullin, regional governors and muftis were among the guests

Forgetting previous disagreements, all supreme muftis arrived at the ceremony — head of the Russian Muslim Religious Directorate Talgat Tajuddin, Chairman of the Russian Council of Muftis Ravil Gaynutdin, Mufti of the Religious Assembly of Muslims of Russia Albir Krganov, Chairman of the Coordination Centre of Muslims of the North Caucasus Ismail Berdiyev. Management directors of the Moscow Patriarchy Metropolitan Dionisy Voskresensky and Metropolitan of Kazan and Tatarstan Kirill represented the Russian Orthodox Christian Church.

In his welcome speech, Russian Vice Premier Marat Khusnullin noted the significance of the event stressing that Tatars’ ancestors made a historic choice 1100 years ago by joining one of the world religions, which was a powerful impulse for the cultural, economic and political development of Volga Bulgaria.

“We are meeting in the tough conditions of foreign political pressure, but the unity of our citizens, common moral ideals fixed in religious writings unite our society today too. The country’s President Vladimir Putin has noted multiple times that Russia’s Muslims always respect their ancestors’ traditions and customs keeping the firm adherence to high ideals of patriotism and fairness. According to his decree at federal level, we are celebrating the 1100th anniversary of the adoption of Islam by Volga Bulgaria this year. And in honour of this memorable date, there will be a new cathedral mosque for 10,000 people will be at the place we are now,” claimed Khusnullin.

Chairman of the Coordination Centre of Muslims of the North Caucasus Ismail Berdiyev didn’t avoid the “Ukrainian topic” and urged everybody to pray for all Russians who died during the special military operation.

“The construction of mosques marks life-changing moments in the Tatars’ lives”

Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov noted that the history of the Tatar people has several examples when the construction of mosques marked life-changing moments in their life. So in 1767, Catherine the Great permitted to build a stone mosque in Kazan, which stills works and bears the name of an outstanding Tatar scientist Shigabutdin Marjani. In the 1990s, on first Tatarstan President Mintimer Shaimiyev’s initiative, the construction of the Qul Sharif mosque in the Kremlin began. Now it is one of the most recognisable sites in Kazan.

“It is illustrative that these and other our mosques were built with public donations. The new Cathedral Mosque won’t be an exception. Kindness charity fund will raise the money. Everybody can make a contribution to this holy action. I am addressing all our compatriots, Tatars from all over the world, the Muslim ummah, interested citizens calling them on to actively participate in the construction of the Cathedral Mosque,” Minnikhanov urged the audience.

Rustam Minnikhanov: “I am addressing all our compatriots, Tatars from all over the world, the Muslim ummah, non-indifferent citizens calling them on to actively participate in the construction of the Cathedral Mosque”

He reminded them that an international contest for the best project for the mosque began on 1 April, its results will be made public on 8 July, on the eve of the Sacrifice Feast. Minnikhanov also expressed his wishes regarding the future cult facility — its architecture should express the unique culture of the Tatars, and be “majestic and recognisable.”

By the way, it is planned to lay holy stones brought from ancient Bolgar to the foundation of the mosque.

In four languages

Four students of the madrasah named after the 1000th anniversary of the adoption of Islam were entrusted with lifting the cloth from the memorable stone laid at the place of the future mosque. A massive green cube (presumably made of malachite) whose edges are adorned with brown ornaments opened in front of the eyes to the sounds of the address to God “Allahu Akbar!” A gold ornament and inscriptions in Tatar, Arabic, Russian and English were graved on them: “In commemoration of the construction of the Cathedral Mosque in honour of the 1100th anniversary of the adoption of Islam by Volga Bulgaria.” Sculptor Zulfiya Mukhamedyanova made the memorable stone.

Four students of the madrasah named after the 1000th anniversary of the adoption of Islam were entrusted with lifting the cloth from the memorable stone laid at the place of the future mosque

The ceremony ended with Supreme Mufti of Russia Talgat Tajuddin’s prayer. Before this, he noted that cathedrals in Tatarstan are built on a parity basis: the revival of Our Lady of Kazan Cathedral and a complex of churches in the island town of Sviyazhsk followed the Qul Sharif and White Mosque in Bolgar.

As soon as the last word of the prayer was pronounced, a cloud appeared in the sky and it started raining several minutes later. Honourable guests took a photo with the stone and headed to the exit. Mintimer Shaimiyev alone stayed on the stage and continued to greet the audience and shake their hands.

Before everybody left the site, people took photos of the memorable stone on their smartphones.

“Do you understand you have been at a historic event?” one of the participants in the ceremony addressed a woman with a kid.

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Eleonora Rylova. Photo: Dmitry Reznov
Tatarstan