News ID: 8926
Publish Date: 03 August 2012 - 12:07
Russian Muslims have dismissed US criticism of restrictions on their right to practice their religion, saying that they are enjoying full freedom to worshipping.

"There are no repressions against good Muslims in our country,” Albir Krganov, Mufti of Moscow and the Central Region of Russia, said in a statement cited by Russia Today on Thursday, August 2.

"Decent Muslims are not being persecuted in our country.”

A US State Department report about religious freedoms has said that minority faiths are facing discrimination in Russia.

The report said while the Russian Constitution guarantees the right to practice religion, "laws and policies restrict religious freedoms by denying some groups legal status and misidentifying their literature as extremist."

It accused authorities of using extremism charges to target minority faiths, detain nonconforming believers or deny them access to places of worship.

But the Muslim leader insisted that Russian Muslims were not being targeted by authorities on claims of extremism.

"Sometimes Muslims are invited to testify to police, they can be treated as witnesses or suspects,” Krganov said.

"But once their innocence is proved, they are released.”

The Russian Federation is home to some 23 million Muslims in the north of the Caucasus and southern republics of Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan.

Islam is Russia's second-largest religion representing roughly 15 percent of its 145 million predominantly Orthodox population.


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