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Riyadh may increase Russian quota for Hajj to Mecca, Medina to 25,000

October 08, 15:39 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Quotas are calculated "one place per one thousand Muslim believers," and the number of Russian believers has grown greatly in recent years, said Russia’s Deputy Chairman of Council of Muftis

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MOSCOW, October 8. /TASS/. The quota for Russia Muslims, who want to make the pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina, may be increased to 25,000 people. Russia’s Deputy Chairman of Council of Muftis Rushan Abbyasov said this question was on agenda of the meeting between Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz and the Russian Islamic leaders on Saturday.

"This year, our quota was 20,500, and we asked for an additional 3,000, and we received it last minute," he said. "But we have a request for at least 25 thousand, and I belive it would be satisfied, as Saudi Arabia undertakes great efforts to develop the Muslim sacred places. I mean the enlarging of the main mosque in Mecca, and beginning of the work to enlarging in Medina of Al-Masjid an-Nabawi. This is certainly good news for us."

Quotas per every country are calculated "one place per one thousand Muslim believers," and the number of Russian believers has grown greatly in recent years, he continued. "Today, about 25 million Muslims make the Russian Muslim ummah," he said. "Saudi Arabia usually grants one place per one thousand Muslims in a country. Yesterday, we heard from the king that this (the request for a bigger quota - TASS) was taken positively."

The deputy chairman expressed confidence the new figure would be formalized during a visit of the Russian delegation to Saudi Arabia to sign an agreement with the Ministry of Haj and Umra for 2018.

Partnership for peace

During the meeting on Saturday, he continued, the parties discussed the questions close to every Muslim believer. Among others, they touched upon the radical manifestations of Islam and international terrorism, which quite often hides behind religious slogans.

"The parties stressed that Islam as a religion execrates such actions, and the Muslims must never follow this path of destruction. The issues of radicalism and extremism are the common concern, not only of the Muslims, but of the humanity. Terrorist attacks are organized not only in Europe, but in the Islamic countries. Very many Muslims suffer from terrorists," he said.

The Russian side informed the Arabian counterparts on development of the Islamic religions life in the country.

"Over the short period after the Soviet Union’s collapse, more than 8,000 mosques were built in Russia, and in 2015 the Moscow Cathedral Mosque was opened by the country’s president. We also told them about opening of the Bulgarian Islamic Academy in Tatarstan and about development of the religious education," he added.

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