Muhammedgali Khuzin, the head of the executive committee of the Russian Association of Islamic Consensus, rejected a suggestion to add a crescent to Russia's national emblem .
Muhammedgali Khuzin, the head of the executive committee of the Russian Association of Islamic Consensus, rejected a suggestion to add a crescent to Russia's national emblem (pictured above).
He claims that Russia's muftis believe such an addition would counter-productive and dangerous to cultural harmony.
The decision of the Russian muftis came in response to a proposal by Talgat Tajuddin to add a crescent to one of the eagles’ crowns on the Russian emblem. Tajuddin is the Supreme Mufti of the Central Moslem Board in Russia.
Tajuddin said in an interview: "We are only asking to crown one head of the double-headed eagle on the state emblem with the Crescent and the other with the Orthodox Cross. And let the Cross and the Crescent be capped by the crown in the middle," Tajuddin said.
"All the crowns on the coat of arms - two on the heads of the eagles and one above them in the middle - are topped by crosses. But Russia has 20 million Muslims. That's 18 percent of the population," he added.
Other Russian muftis disagree with his proposal, arguing that mixing religious symbols will lead to accusations of ecumenism from the traditional Orthodox Christians community as well as the traditional Russian Islamic community.
Khuzin cited the example of Christians in Syria, who do not demand that their symbols appear on the state emblem.
The initiative would stir up xenophobia, he believes.
The Russian Orthodox Church has already expressed its objection to the idea.
"The Russian state emblem has a history of many centuries and it has stood the test of time. It has not been supplanted by Soviet symbols, which are falling into oblivion at an enormous speed, while the symbols, historically justified, are again finding their due place in Russia's life," said Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, the head of the Synodal Department for Church and Society Relations.
As for the history of the emblem, the double-headed eagle was adopted by Ivan III after his marriage with the Byzantine princess Sophia Paleologue on 12 November 1472, whose uncle Constantine was the last Byzantine Emperor. The double-headed eagle had been the official state symbol of the late Byzantine Empire, spanning both East and West. During the communist era, it was replaced by a sickle-and hammer emblem (pictured right). The double-headed eagle was officially reinstated in 1993.
The archpriest, however, welcomed the idea of predominantly Muslim areas of Russia adopting the crescent into their official regional emblems and coats of arms.
"It would be unfair to revise this (national) symbol from the point of view of Russia's historical heritage, the more so since the Muslim symbols - the Crescent, for instance - could be very well used in the regional emblems in the predominantly Muslim regions - there are such regions in this country," Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin said.
The press secretary of the Russian chief rabbi, Andrei Glotser, said that they cannot take the initiative of adding a crescent to the Russian emblem seriously.
Chinese Muslims pray during a ceremony for breaking fast on the first day of Ramadan at Niujie Mosque in Beijing, China EPA