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Tatar Leader: Ukraine's Tatars Won't Attend New Kyiv Mosque

KYIV -- A leader of the Tatar minority in Ukraine says he does not expect ethnic Tatars to attend a newly opened mosque that is the largest in Kyiv, RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service reports.

The new mosque, which officially opened on December 2, is the first in Kyiv with a traditional minaret.

Kanafiya Khosnetdinov, chairman of the Tugan Tel (Mother Tongue) Tatar national and cultural center in Kyiv, told RFE/RL on December 3 that some 200-300 Tatar believers in Ukraine's capital usually congregate in a Tatar mosque housed by his organization with assistance from Tatarstan's Tatneft state oil company.

"This new mosque is attended and has been attended almost solely by Muslims from Lebanon and other foreign countries, not by people from the former Soviet Union," he said, adding that the version of Islam followed in the mosque is different from that traditionally followed by Tatars.

Khosnetdinov also said his organization plans to build an Islamic University in Kyiv that uses Tatar as its main language, as well as English and Arabic.

According to Khosnetdinov, there are six Muslim congregations in Kyiv.

"Tatars have mosques in Kyiv and in other Ukrainian cities, such as Kharkiv, Donetsk, etc. All services are presented in Tatar there," Khosnetdinov said.

Read more in Tatar here

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