Manchester Is a 'City of Mosques,' Says Russian TV

A misleading report serves as a cautionary tale against giving Muslims too much room to worship

Feb 27, 2017 — 17:00
— Update: Feb. 28 2017 — 06:52
Feb 27, 2017 — 17:00
— Update: Feb. 28 2017 — 06:52
Pixabay, edited by The Moscow Times

Been to Britain lately? If you managed to take in the city of Manchester, perhaps you were startled to find that the skyline is now “nothing but mosques.” That, at any rate, is how one of Russia's flagship television news shows described Manchester on Sunday.

According to Irada Zeynalova, host of “Weekly Roundup” on the NTV network, “Coming into Manchester, you see so many minarets that, from afar, the whole place looks like it's nothing but mosques.”

She made this remark while introducing a report on British mosques working with the government in a bid to counter extremism.

On social media, Manchester locals have ridiculed Zeynalova's description, calling it “hilarious.”

The description could lead discerning viewers to wonder if any of the show's reporters had visited Manchester at all.

Of course, there's always a chance that visiting journalists merely confused Islamic minarets with some of Manchester's other great sights, including the soaring steeples of beautiful Gothic churches.

Public buildings also have confusingly lofty towers (although perhaps the Union Jack flying from the roof may have given it away).

Skyscrapers are also a natural cause for confusion.

And that's to say nothing of the cranes.

There really are a lot of cranes. 

Moscow itself has a Muslim population of roughly 2 million people. Many are migrants from Central Asia, but the number also includes ethnic minorities who have lived in Russia for centuries, such as Russian Tatars. 

The capital still has only four mosques, forcing hundreds to pray in the streets outside on Fridays and during religious festivals.

Police officers guard Muslims performing Eid al-Fitr prayers outside Moscow's Cathedral Mosque.
Police officers guard Muslims performing Eid al-Fitr prayers outside Moscow's Cathedral Mosque. Ivan Sekretarev / AP

By far, this not the first questionable report aired on NTV, which is owned indirectly by state company Gazprom.

In June 2016, more than 100 regional newspapers throughout Russia warned their readers about the “fake news” that regularly appears on NTV.

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