Cathedral Mosque unveiled in Zaporizhia

18 October, 11:24
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It took the Muslims of Zaporizhia more than three years to build a religious complex that embraces a mosque, an educational space, a department for women, and economic premises. The Muslim religious community that built the temple is part of the Ummah Duma. The mosque, which can be visited by up to 300 worshippers at a time, was needed due to the significant increase in the city's Muslim community and the need to improve the quality of religious culture and education.

This is reported by the All-Ukrainian Council of Religious Associations.

On October 15, 2021, about three hundred believers, guests from religious organizations, cultural centers, and local self-government bodies of Zaporizhia came to the new mosque. Mufti of the Umma Duma Said Ismagilov led the opening ceremony. The event was attended by: Chairman of the public union "All-Ukrainian Association "Alraid" Seyran Arifov, delegations of representatives of Islamic communities from all over Ukraine, representatives of government and local self-government, clergy, delegates of national diasporas and local residents.

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"The opening of the first and so far only mosque in Zaporizhia region was attended by imams from Dnipro, Kharkiv, Konstantynivvka and Severodonetsk, priests from the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, the Roman Catholic Church and the Armenian Church, government officials and a large number of Muslims of the city. The first Imam of the community, Sheikh Bilal, also flew from Lebanon specifically for the opening of the mosque, and at whose initiative they began to build a mosque and revive religious traditions in the Muslim community.

The Cathedral Mosque was built with donations from Ukrainian Muslims. After the official speeches and cutting of the ribbon, Friday Juma namaz was held", Sheikh Said noted on Facebook.

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The Cathedral Mosque of Zaporizhia, together with the Islamic Cultural Center of the city, forms a single Islamic space and is now the largest Muslim Center in the region. They combine religious, cultural, educational and social areas in their activities.

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The functioning of the Islamic spiritual center will contribute to the revival and development of the Muslim community in the region, the introduction of traditional norms of Islam based on the principles of peace, good neighborliness and tolerance. And for the entire multicultural, multiethnic community of Zaporizhia, which seeks to develop its native city as a center of friendship and mutual understanding, it will become an attractive platform for international cultural exchange.

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"The Muslim religious building in Zaporizhia as a place of worship, a center of culture, education and social work will significantly meet the needs of the Muslim community and will contribute to strengthening interaction with authorities, local self-government, the public sector and citizens. And this, in turn, will improve the conditions for the development of open and mutually beneficial relations between Ukrainian Muslims and the rest of society, and activate interreligious dialogue," the AUCCRO said in a statement.

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On behalf of all Muslims of Ukraine Mufti said Ismagilov congratulated the citizens on the opening of the Zaporizhia Cathedral Mosque:

"This is a solemn event, it is evidence of the development of the rights and freedoms of believers in our country. This is evidence that the Muslims of Zaporizhia are very eager to revive their religious traditions, to pray, to preserve their spirituality, their religious and cultural identity. After the deportation of all Crimean Tatars in 1944, it was officially considered that there was no Islam and Muslims in Ukraine at all. But there were a lot of Muslims and Zaporizhia was one of those cities where there was a large Muslim community. But as our mothers and older fathers remember, all religious life was underground," Sheikh said.

Imam of the Muslim community of Zaporizhia Muhammad Mamutov called the opening of the mosque "an important event in the life of the entire community" because here Muslims not only pray but also celebrate important events in the life of the family and the entire community; celebrate holidays, study and spend meaningful leisure time.

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"The opening of the Cathedral Mosque is a special event for me personally as the head of the religious community of Zaporizhia. First, I am happy to say that our community is growing and developing. Islam has all the opportunities for free confession and favorable conditions have been created for this both in Zaporizhia and in Ukraine as a whole. Secondly, temples are usually built for people, where they remember and approach the Most High Creator, learn good things and go to people with good things. I hope that we will be able to attract more people with our attention and care, which means doing more good and good deeds," the imam said.

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The head of the Zaporizhia Center for Tatar culture "Altyn-AI" Rakhima Akhmerova, calling the opening of the Cathedral Mosque a historic event, recalled that in Zaporizhia the Muslim community has a long history, including the fact that a lot of Muslims came to Zaporizhia during the construction of the Dnieper hydroelectric power station.

"If our fathers and grandfathers, the first migrants of labor migration to the Zaporizhia region — builders of the DniproGES, somehow miraculously found themselves among us today, they would cry with happiness. For many years, they hid in their homes, read prayers, read the Koran, fearing persecution, " Rahima Khan shared.

After the official part and cutting the red ribbon, Muhammad Mamutov gave the guests a tour of the mosque complex. On the first floor, there is a prayer hall for men, on the second floor there is a prayer hall for women, classes for lectures, a library and the imam's office.

The mosque is designed for 300 people, but during the holidays twice as many Muslims come here — many pray on the street.

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The mosque and Islamic Cultural Center complex are located in the private sector on Pushkin street. The Muslim community bought a house here a few years ago. At first, 10-15 people gathered in it, but over time there was not enough space and a fundraiser was organized among Muslims for the construction of a mosque. All the work was done on their own at the expense of donations.

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After completing the tour, Mufti said Ismagilov held the Friday Juma namaz prayer, which is a mandatory collective prayer for Muslims. Then everyone was treated to pilaf.