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MOSCOW, September 23. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has stressed the need for countering fundamentalism as the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group that perverts Islam is attempting to recruit adepts in Russia.
"The work in this direction [countering fundamentalism] is especially important today when the attempts are made to cynically exploit religious feelings for political goals," the Russian leader said at an opening ceremony for the Grand Mosque in Moscow.
Turkish and Palestinian leaders Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Mahmoud Abbas are also attending the ceremony.
The non-acceptance and condemnation of any manifestations of fundamentalism and radicalism "has become a significant contribution in the fight against nationalism and religious extremism," Putin said.
Putin gave as example the situation in the Middle East where the IS terrorists "discredit the great world religion and discredit Islam, and sow the seeds of hatred, kill people, including clergymen, and destroy the monuments of global culture in a barbaric way."
The IS ideology "is based on lies and clear perversion of Islam." "They try to enlist adepts in this country as well," he said, stressing that the Muslim spiritual leaders of Russia bravely counteract this extremist propaganda using their authority.
"I want to show huge respect for these people, indeed they do their job heroically and suffer losses," he said, adding that there is no doubt that the Muslim spiritual leaders will educate believers on the principles of humanism, mercy and justice.
The Russian leader said it is important to expand Muslim cultural and scientific-educational centers that have the goal of uniting the followers of this religion and convey to them the spiritual, cultural and moral code of the traditional Islam in Russia.
Moscow’s Grand Mosque, which has opened after a decade of construction work, will become an important religious center and a source of humanist enlightenment among Muslims, the president said.
"I am convinced that the Grand Mosque will become for the Muslims of Moscow and all Russia an important religious center and a source of enlightenment, spreading humanist ideas and true values of Islam, will carry knowledge and spirituality and will help unite efforts of not only Muslims but also people of other religions for the sake of common benefits," Putin said at the mosque’s opening ceremony also attended by Turkish and Palestinian leaders Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Mahmoud Abbas.
He congratulated Muslims on this important event, adding that the mosque has become Europe’s largest.
Putin reminded the ceremony’s guests that Russia has always been a multinational and multi-confessional country.
"For example, Moscow’s Muslim community was formed in the Middle Ages and the names of many-many streets of our capital have Tatar roots," the president said thanking everyone who donated funds on the mosque’s reconstruction.
As a result of the construction work, the building’s floor space has been increased twenty-fold to 19,000 square meters and the mosque will be able to accommodate up to 10,000 people simultaneously.
The mosque was originally expected to open in May 2016, but authorities decided to speed up the work and hold the opening ceremony this year celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Great Patriotic War (1941-1945).
Russia’s largest, the Heart of Chechnya, is located in Chechnya’s capital Grozny and can accommodate more than 10,000 worshippers. The Grand Mosque in Moscow, built in 1904, is the second largest and has been under reconstruction since 2005, costing some $170 million.