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Medvedev Makes Unprecedented Visit To Grand Mosque

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Council of Russian Muftis head Ravil Gainutdin
MOSCOW -- President Dmitry Medvedev has toured Moscow's Grand Mosque, the first such visit by a Russian head of state, RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service reports.

Medvedev met with the head of the Council of Russian Muftis, Ravil Gainutdin, and praised the role of Muslim organizations in the country's political life.

Gainutdin called Medvedev's visit to the mosque "historic."

The mosque, built in 1904, has been under reconstruction since 2006. Medvedev said the government will continue to support the work.

He added that he supports the idea of building a mosque in the city of Sochi, which will host of 2014 Winter Olympic Games. Authorities had previously only offered to build a temporary mosque that would be taken down after the Olympics.