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Putin Condemns IS At Moscow Mosque Opening


Russian President Vladimir Putin has condemned the Islamic State (IS) extremist group at the opening of the new Moscow Cathedral Mosque.

Speaking at the ceremony on September 23, Putin said, "Tarnishing a great global religion -- tarnishing the image of Islam -- terrorists of the so-called Islamic State are spreading hatred, killing people, including clergymen, barbarously destroying world cultural-heritage sites.”

He also said the new mosque will be "a source for education, spreading humanist ideas and the true values of Islam."

The ceremony was attended by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, and U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Tefft.

The new mosque was built on the site of the historical Moscow Cathedral Mosque, built in 1904 and controversially torn down in 2011.

The new, six-story mosque will be able to accommodate up to 10,000 worshippers and is the third-largest mosque in Russia after the Grand Mosque in Makhachkala and the Akhmed Kadyrov Mosque in Grozny.

The Moscow Cathedral Mosque's opening ceremony will occur on the eve of the Eid al-Adha festival, known in Russia as Kurban Bairam.

Islam is the second-largest religion in Russia with an estimated 15 million to 23 million followers.

Muslims are a majority in the Russian regions of Adygea, Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, Daghestan, Chechnya, Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkaria, and Karachai-Cherkessia.

Based on reporting by TASS and Interfax
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