FACT CHECK Post about Moscow Cathedral Church in Bangsamoro FB group is false news

A post circulating in a Bangsamoro Facebook group that Russian President Vladimir Putin has converted Moscow’s Cathedral Church into a masjid (mosque) and handed it over to Russia’s Grand Mufti is false.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/860064264349127/permalink/1548924265463120

The social media card was posted on Sunday, January 9, at the Facebook page of Bantay BARMM and has generated comments like MashaAllah, meaning “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, the Russian President Vladimir Putin is converting the Moscow’s Cathedral Church into Masjid and later handed over to the Grand Mufti of Russia in the inauguration ceremony of Moscow Cathedral Mosque, the post stated.

There was no Moscow Cathedral Church but only a Moscow Cathedral Mosque in Russia.

Putin did not convert but actually inaugurated the then newly-completed elaborate Moscow Cathedral Mosque, also known as the Moscow Central Mosque, on September 23, 2015, along 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 grand structure, which took a decade to build, can accommodate 10,000 people on three stories and replaces a much smaller building erected in 1904. The previous two-story mosque, with a squat dome and two short minarets, held only 1,000 people, The New York Times reported back in 2015.

It is located at Olimpiysky Avenue, close to the Olympic Stadium in the center of the city.

The Anadolu Agency, Turkey’s state-owned news agency, described the Moscow Cathedral Mosque as Europe’s largest mosque. 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-check piece was produced with the support of Internews’ Philippine Fact-Checker Incubator Project.)