Muslims Celebrate Eid-ul-Adha; Putin Calls for Religious Tolerance

February 2, 2004

Source: The Moscow Times

On February 2, 2004 The Moscow Times reported, "Millions of Muslims across Russia began celebrations Sunday for Eid-ul-Adha, or the festival of sacrifice, a major Muslim holiday that symbolizes Ibrahim's willingness to obey God and sacrifice his son Ismail. President Vladimir Putin took the opportunity Sunday to issue another call for tolerance within Russian society. 'This holiday is taking place with the further rebirth of spiritual life of millions of followers of Islam in our country,' he said in an address to believers, published by the presidential web site. 'Religious tolerance and good-neighborliness, to love peace and care for fellow human beings are true values of Islam,' the statement said. 'In our time they hold a particular significance, serving as a firm foundation for peace and concord, promoting unity in our multinational homeland.' Russia is estimated to have at least 20 million Muslims, while many more are residents and visitors from former Soviet republics where Islam is widely practiced -- particularly Azerbaijan and Central Asia."