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Muslim leaders address unity call to communities in Crimea, other Russian regions

MOSCOW, March 29, /ITAR-TASS/. The head of Russia’s Council of Muftis, Ravil Gainutdin, has offered his support to the people of Crimea. On Thursday he met with parishioners of Crimea’s mosques at the invitation of the peninsula’s Mufti Emirali Ablayev. Both clerics addressed believers with a call for unity and harmony, the Council of Muftis’ press-service said.

“The Crimean Tatars are joining Russia’s 20-million Umma,” the Council of Muftis pointed out. “Both spiritual leaders asked believers to display common sense, rationalism, unity and harmony and declared the intention to jointly safeguard the interests of the Muslim population.”

The delegation from Russia’s Council of Muftis was briefed on the day-to-day affairs of the Crimean Muslim Board and joined its staff for a collective prayer for peace in Crimea.

Abayev looked back on the 1,200-year-long history of Islam in Crimea. He recalled that Crimea’s Muslims had never displayed fanaticism or extremism. In the historical perspective and at the present stage Crimea’s Muslim community stays loyal to the Hanafi Madhab - one of the most widely spread schools of Sunni Islamic law.

About the present condition of Islam in Crimea Ablayev said that per the 300,000 Crimean Tatars there were 350 registered communities. Several hundred other communities subordinate to the Crimean Muslim Board have no official registration.