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MOSCOW, November 6 (Itar-Tass) —— Russian Council of Muftis’ head Ravil Gainutdin called on Muslims to be active in the upcoming parliamentary and presidential election in his Kurban Bayram oration at the Moscow Mosque on Sunday.
“Muslims in this country have always displayed civil awareness and taken active part in elections. I am confident that our active participation in the elections of this December and next March will help us make the correct choice for the benefit of the future generations, our children and grandchildren,” he said.
About 80,000 Muslims gathered near the mosque on Mira Avenue, the police said. Most of them were migrants from CIS member states.
About 170,000 people celebrated Kurban Bayram in Moscow this year, the city police said. There were Kurban Bayram prayers at four mosques and three city parks.
Animal sacrifices, a key ritual of the Kurban Bayram Islamic holiday, were made by Moscow Muslims at regional slaughterhouses for the first time ever.
“The Russian Council of Muftis and the Moscow government did a lot for civilized management of the rites. We agreed with ten slaughterhouses in the Moscow region to make animal sacrifices there this year,” Council deputy head Damir Gizatullin told Itar-Tass on Sunday.
He said he did not see any animal sacrifices being made within the Moscow city limits on Sunday. The mufti did not rule out animal sacrifices at some marketplaces but said that would have been illegal. “There are Islamic norms and the sacrifices must be made in a clean and secluded spot,” he said.
“Lists of people wishing to have sacrificed meat were made at the Moscow Mosque. The meat will be supplied to them for three days starting from today,” he said.
Most of the animals were sacrificed in the ethnic Tatar village of Satino in the Podolsk district, he said. “A local farm grows 15,000 to 20,000 sheep for sacrifices, and veterinarians check every animal’s health,” he said.
Several years ago Muscovites were shocked with animal sacrifices made right on the city streets. The muftis blamed migrants and supported the legislative norms, which would assign special places for animal sacrifices.
The Muslims of Russia were congratulated on the Kurban Bayram holiday by the Russian leaders.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin congratulates heads of Russian Muslim departments on the Kurban Bayram holiday on Sunday, the governmental press service reports.
“I congratulate you on one of the most honored Islamic holidays, Kurban Bayram, which ends the hajj period. Millions of Russian Muslims celebrate this holiday in their communities and families. The respect for centuries-old traditions promotes the rapprochement of people and the ideals of unity, kindness and charity. Federal and regional authorities assist the hajj and the festivities of Muslims,” he said.
“The Russian Islamic community actively takes part in the national life and makes a weighty contribution to the moral and spiritual upbringing of the younger generation and the development of the inter-religious dialog. Certainly, the activity of this community is important for the provision of inter-ethnic peace and civil concord in the country,” he said.
Putin wished the heads of Islamic communities and the Muslims health, happiness, family warmth and success.
Earlier in the day, President Dmitry Medvedev congratulated Muslims of Russia on the Kurban Bayram holiday, the Kremlin reports.
“This ancient holiday brings the believers back to the spiritual basics of Islam and cultivates respect for high moral and humanist ideals of kindness, charity and justice, which are shared by all the world religions. These timeless values must become a moral guideline for the younger generation that is due to contribute to the development of this state and society in the near future,” the congratulatory message runs.
“The Islamic community unites millions of people in Russia. Their religious leaders give much attention to the strengthening of inter-ethnic and inter-religious accord and promote the preservation of cultural diversity of this country,” the message says.