‘Europe’s largest mosque’ unveiled in Russia
Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has inaugurated what authorities say is Europe’s largest mosque. Sitting just outside the capital of Grozny, the mosque can accommodate more than 30,000 people.
Opened by Kadyrov on Friday, the ‘Pride of Muslims’ mosque can accommodate 30,000 worshippers inside and up to 70,000 in its flower-decorated grounds. Kadyrov described the building as “unique in its design, and majestic in its size and beauty.”
Delegations from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Jordan, joined Kadyrov for the ceremony, along with more than 200 guests from 43 countries.
The mosque is situated in the town of Shali, 35km (22 miles) outside the center of the Chechen capital Grozny. In 2008, Kadyrov unveiled another mosque in the city center, this one named after Akhmad Kadyrov, Ramzan’s father and first president of the Chechen Republic, who was assassinated in 2004.
Since assuming power in Chechnya, Kadyrov has spearheaded an Islamic revival in the Russian region. Critics have accused the strongman-style leader of human rights abuses, while supporters have lauded him for bringing peace and stability to a once-volatile region.
West of the Caucuses, several houses of worship have been described as ‘Europe’s largest,’ but measuring capacity is difficult when taking into account the buildings’ often ornate and sprawling grounds. London’s Baital Futuh mosque, Rotterdam’s Essalam Mosque, and Cologne’s Central Mosque have all been described as the continent’s largest, but the new mosque in Shali can accommodate more worshippers than all three combined.