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Russian chief rabbi lauds Muslim cooperation

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The Muslims of Russia have shown unrivaled cooperation with both the state and the Jewish community, a chief rabbi said.

“The situation we have in Russia is unlike anywhere else in the world,” Berel Lazar, one of two chief rabbis in Russia, said Tuesday at the World Economic Forum on the Middle East. “Russia is unique because the state is interested in peaceful relations between the faiths, and they are ready to actively participate in resolving conflicts.”

Four religions are recognized in Russia, and the government maintains ties with chosen leaders from each religion.

The Chabad-run Federation of Jewish Communities cut ties with Russia’s Council of Muftis last month after a member of the council equated Zionism with fascism. Most recently, the same Islamic leader, Nafigullah Ashirov, suggested that ethnic minorities and Muslims should live in isolated compounds to avoid attacks from Russian skinheads.

The council renounced both statements. Lazar noted at the conference that Russia’s Public Chamber, an advisory body to the government of prominent figures in society, also spoke out against Ashirov.

“Participants in this process understand that the state is interested in solving conflicts peacefully,” Lazar said.

 

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