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Vladimir Putin has congratulated Russian Muslims on a major Islamic holiday
Vladimir Putin has congratulated Russian Muslims on a major Islamic holiday, the Feast of Sacrifice, the Kremlin press service said Tuesday. Muslims celebrate the holiday, which is called Eid ul-Adha in Arabic and Kurban-bairam in Tartar, as the moment in which the Prophet Ibrahim stayed true to his belief in God and prepared to sacrifice his son after seeing a vision in his sleep. Although the Devil tried to tempt Ibrahim to save his son, the latter resisted and God allowed him to sacrifice a sheep instead. "This holiday reminds us that traditions of Islam like other world religions are based on such values as justice, good, benevolence and care for other people regardless of their nationality or faith," Putin said. "It is particularly important today when the state and society must unite in efforts to counter any forms of extremism and attempts to distort the essence of Islam for selfish and aggressive purposes." A substantial number of Russia's 20 million Muslims live in the Republic of Tatarstan, which is located on the Volga River, and a total of 1.5 million adherents of Islam are believed to live in Moscow alone. The country has been seeking to expand its relations with the Muslim world in recent years, particularly as ties had suffered in the light of the fighting in the North Caucasus republic of Chechnya, and became an observer of the influential Organization of the Islamic Conference in 2005. Putin has constantly highlighted the peaceful co-existence of Russia's Christians and Muslims, and again referred to this in his Tuesday message. "I am certain that Russia's Muslims will continue contributing to the development of inter-denominational dialogue, the strengthening of mutual understanding and neighborly relations between people," the president said.
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