A message circulating in a Bangsamoro Facebook group that Russian President Vladimir Putin converted Moscow Cathedral into a masjid (mosque) and handed it over to the Grand Mufti of Russia is false.
The social media card was posted on Sunday January 9 on Bantay BARMM’s Facebook page and generated comments like MashaAllah, which means “what Allah has willed.” The Facebook group has at least 51,600 members. BARMM stands for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, which was established in 2019.
In a video shared by The Times of Islamabad, Russian President Vladimir Putin is converting the Moscow Cathedral Church into a Masjid and then handing it over to the Grand Mufti of Russia during the dedication ceremony of the Cathedral Mosque of Moscow, according to the message.
There was no Moscow Cathedral Church, only a Moscow Cathedral Mosque in Russia.
Putin did not convert but did in fact inaugurate the then newly completed Moscow Cathedral Mosque, also known as the Moscow Central Mosque, on September 23, 2015, with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. https://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/24/world/europe/putin-opens-moscows-most-elaborate-mosque.html
The new large structure, which took a decade to build, can accommodate 10,000 people over three floors and replaces a much smaller building erected in 1904. The previous two-story mosque, with a squat dome and two small minarets, only contained than 1,000 people, The New York Times reported in 2015.
It is located on Olimpiysky Avenue, close to the Olympic Stadium in the center of the city.
The Anadolu agency, the Turkish state-run news agency, described the Mosque-Cathedral in Moscow as the largest mosque in Europe. https://www.aa.com.tr/en/pg/photo-gallery/moscow-central-mosque-opened-on-eve-of-eid/4/158105 (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)
(This fact-checking piece was produced with support from the Philippine Fact-Checker Incubator Project at Internews.)