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Russia's Grand Mufti Says Freedom Of Expression Must Have Limits

MOSCOW -- Russia's Grand Mufti Ravil Gainutdin says freedom of expression must have its limits.

Talking to RFE/RL on January 22, Gainutdin said that Russia's Muslims support democracy, but added that freedom of expression does not mean that anyone "can say anything about anything anywhere."

Gainutdin cited such Tatar proverbs as "A word can cure and a word can kill," and "A physical injury can heal, but an injury caused by words cannot."

He said that cartoons of Prophet Muhammad published by the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo were "an attempt to damage the spiritual strength of the almost 2 billion Muslims of the world."

"If some words can damage humans spiritually, such words must be avoided," Gainutdin said.

Earlier this week, Gainutdin attended a large rally in the Chechen capital, Grozny, where he condemned both the cartoons and the jihadist attack against Charlie Hebdo in Paris in which 12 people were killed.

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

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