City’s authorities reported that a total number of 42 thousand Muslim believers had participated in celebrating the Kurban Bairam holiday in St. Petersburg and the Leningrad region.
The Cathedral Mosque was the epicenter of morning festivities, that’s why traffic regime has to be altered in that part of the city. Dmitriy Runkov with more.
Muslim believers started gathering for the prayer even before the light of dawn. Rain and chilling weather didn’t scare them off from a festive morning prayer. On this day, the congregation speaking on different languages needed no interpreters to understand each other. And they willingly made space for a fellow believer’s praying rug.
Dmitriy Runkov, correspondent: “According to rough estimates, around 100 thousand believers have gathered at the Cathedral Mosque. Quite naturally, they couldn’t all fit inside; even the adjoining square barely accommodated all of them”.
Believers even had to find a spot for the prayer inside the Alexandrovsky park. Traditionally, on the Kurban Bairam – aside from praising Allah – believers visit the graves of their next of kin and treat their guests to festive food. This year, the authorities permitted the lamb sacrificing ritual only in 4 places – all outside of town.
A police helicopter observed over the believers during the entire prayer. Around 1000 policemen ensured safety on the ground at the Mosque. No incidents were reported. That’s not considering an expected stampede after the end of the prayer – it was difficult to get inside the sub terrain crossing. Many of those attending didn’t know beforehand that the”Gorkovskaya” metro station would be closed for several hours.
The station closed its doors earlier and opened them later than planned. For those who were not going to the Morning Prayer, policemen created a designated corridor – something which had never worked at mass prayers before. But considering that all streets adjoining the Mosque were gripped by traffic lockdown, practically none of the residents had made it on time anyway.
By midday barely anything reminded of a large-scale praying ceremony. Only newspapers on the ground at the Mosque – those were used as praying rugs. From that moment on, the most important and festive three-day period for the city’s million-strong Muslim community had begun.
Correspondent: Dmitriy Runkov