Russia: Russian government and the patriarchate of Moscow seek rapprochement with Islam

Source: FSSPX News


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The Chechen president Ramzam Kadyrov, had the Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, visit the enormous mosque which has just been built at Grozny, on the eve of its opening on October 17. This visit took place at the moment when the Russian Orthodox church, like the Russian government, is seeking a rapprochement with the Muslim world. “I think that it is not only the Chechen people and the Muslims of Chechnia who can be proud of this memorable event, but also all the Muslims of Russia,” declared Vladimir Putin on television. “Effectively it is a major contribution destined for the entire Muslim world.”

The new mosque, which can accommodate up to 10,000 worshippers, is part of a complex which includes an Islamic institute and an hotel. It is decorated with gold and its minarets stand more than 60 meters high. The Chechen government’s website confirms that the mosque is twice as large as what had inspired it, the Suleiman mosque in Istanbul. Other world leaders have also promised to visit it. Thus, the Libyan Mouammar Gaddafi, who was in Moscow on an official visit between October 31 and November 2, said that he would visit the Mosque in 2010, to celebrate the birthday of Mohammed.

Russia has large centers of Muslim population in North Caucasia, the region of the Volga, the Urals and Moscow. Muslim countries all over the world were very critical of Vladimir Putin during the Chechen wars. Today Russia appears to be extending a hand to Islam and to be emphasizing certain common interests.

Between October 27 and 29, government and religious leaders took part in a Russian-Islamic world forum, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Mintimar Shaimiyev, the president of Tatarstan, a Republic of the Federation of Russia with a significant Muslim population, read out greetings from the Russian president, Dmitri Medvedev. Fr. Vsevolod Tchapline, deputy president of the Department of Foreign Relations of the Patriarchate of Moscow, took part in the forum. Thus he was the first priest of the Russian Orthodox Church to go to Saudi Arabia, according to the agency Interfax.

“Too often one seeks to educate the Orthodox and the Muslims by saying to them: abandon your ‘superstitions’, acknowledge the supremacy of the secular law and secular values and you will be considered excellent students of Western society,” said Fr. Tchapline during his speech to the forum. He added: “The true believers are becoming ever more aware that their vision of the world, their way of life, their laws and their rules, and their model of society have at least as much right of recognition in the current world structure as the model of society and the vision of the world which prevails in the West.” (Sources: Apic /ENI /Interfax)