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Sunday, November 30, A.D. 2008

A Saudi Mosque in Moscow?

I have a lot of hope for Russia. While the West crumbles in its self-loathing, the nations that survived the Communist hell seem far more sane. Russia remains autocratic and dysfunctional, but I have little doubt that it will survive. Unlike Western Europeans, who seem content to watch their own people disappear from the world and have their populations slowly replaced by North African and Middle Eastern alien hordes, the Russians are at least trying to address their demographic issues.

Anyway, the following story confirmed my confidence in Russia’s rebirth:

“A Saudi Mosque in Moscow in Exchange for a Russian Church in Mecca?” by Paul Goble. Here are some selections:

The king of Saudi Arabia has announced that he is ready to support the construction of a mosque and Islamic cultural center in Moscow, a city with only four mosques for its more than two million Muslims. In response and probably to block this, Orthodox Christians in Russia have called for opening a church in Saudi Arabia. . . .

Given that Moscow has only four mosques – the same number it had at the end of Soviet times – but a Muslim population that may number as many as 2.5 million, Muslims in the Russian Federation were delighted by the offer and the attention from abroad it suggests. But many non-Muslim Russians were horrified that another mosque might be opened in their capital.

After the Saudi offer was reported, three Russian Orthodox groups – the Moscow section of the Union of Orthodox Citizens, the Radonezh Society, and the Byzantine Club – released an open letter to Saudi King Abdullah suggesting that there should be another mosque in Moscow only after a Russian Orthodox church was opened in Mecca.

Their appeal noted that “Saudi Arabia is building mosques in dozens of Christian countries” and then asked whether it would not be only just if permission were given to Christians to build a church within its borders for Christians living there, something Riyadh has been reluctant to permit (www.interfax-religion.ru/islam/?act=documents&div=835).

And in support of their argument, the three groups cite the comment of Jean-Louis Cardinal Toran, the head of the Papal Council on Inter-religious Dialogue that “if Muslims consider it correct to have a large and beautiful mosque in Rome, then it is equally correct for Christians to have a church in Riyadh.”

The Orthodox groups also argued that it would be “very important” to lift the restrictions now in force against Christians visiting the Holy cities of Mecca and Medina,” to all visitors to Saudi Arabia to wear crosses, and to create special courses about Christianity in general and Russian Orthodoxy in particular.

Moreover, they suggested that if the Saudis want to begin broadcasting their television programs to the Russian Federation and its Muslims, then “it would be just” to offer “Your subjects the opportunity to watch Russian Orthodox channels and thus to learn that Christians don’t believe in three gods, don’t distort the Bible and don’t pray to idols.”

I especially like the Orthodox suggestion for the Saudi king to offer, “Your subjects the opportunity to watch Russian Orthodox channels and thus to learn that ‘Christians don’t believe in three gods, don’t distort the Bible and don’t pray to idols.’” Any Christian who has had a theological conversation with followers of Mohammed quickly learns how mistaken they are about fundamental Christian doctrines. I wonder if Moscow will cave . . .

Posted by Joseph on Sunday, November 30, Anno Domini 2008
Religion | OrthodoxyEcumenismMohammedanism • (1) Comments
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