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Muslims intend to take Orthodox symbols off Russia's State Emblem

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    2005.12.06 PRAVDA: 12/06/2005 18:02 It is worthy of note that there are up to two million Muslims living in Moscow alone Orthodox symbols on the Russian
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 7, 2005
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      2005.12.06 PRAVDA:
      12/06/2005 18:02

      It is worthy of note that there are up to two million Muslims living in
      Moscow alone

      Orthodox symbols on the Russian National Emblem gave rise to a religious
      dispute in Russia. The majority of Muslim leaders and scientists say that
      Russia should remove Orthodox symbols from the Emblem. The central image of
      the Emblem depicts the Orthodox Saint, Georgy Pobedonosets (Victorious
      Georgy), slaying a dragon. Crowns with Christian crosses adorn the heads of
      double eagles. Another cross can be seen on the orb, which one of the birds
      holds in its claws.


      Russia is a secular multi-confessional state. The State Emblem of Russia
      should therefore reflect the variety of nations living on the territory of
      the country. According to the results of the latest population census, up
      to ten percent of Russians practice Islam. Islamic figures have recently
      urged the Russian government to pay attention to the issue of Orthodox
      symbolism on the National Emblem, for it could be referred to as a
      violation of human rights.

      "It is not only the matter of the Russian State Emblem. They put up crosses
      on frontier posts and city entrances, Orthodox icons can be seen hanging on
      office walls. All these facts, which include sending Christian symbols into
      space, assigning Christian icons to Russian troops, missile troops in
      particular, the presence of four large crosses on the Emblem testify to a
      certain pressure of Christian symbolism in the country," the chairman of
      the spiritual administration of Russian Muslims, Nafigullah Ashirov said.
      "Let us build mosques, synagogues, Catholic churches and pagodas everywhere
      and make it all look absolutely absurd," the clergyman said.

      "Muslims raise this subject every now and then. Muslim police officers in
      Dagestan, for example, may erase Christian crosses off cockades. Christian
      symbols, which can be found on certain elements of the Russian military
      uniform, contradict to their beliefs and religion. No one has touched upon
      this question before, but this problem exists," Ashirov said in an
      interview with Echo of Moscow radio station.

      Ashirov does not think that state symbols should display the signs of a
      particular religious confession. "The Russian Federation Constitution
      defines Russia as a secular state. One should therefore avoid any religious
      symbols in state emblems. Religion is a private matter. One should not
      promote the Christian religion on the state level," the official said.

      "If President Putin says that Russia is a Christian, Muslim and secular
      state at one and the same time, it should be so in reality. Otherwise, the
      government needs to change the Constitution and pronounce Russia a
      Christian state," Ashirov believes.

      It is worthy of note that there are up to two million Muslims living in
      Moscow alone. The total number of those following Islam is estimated at
      some 20 million in Russia.

      The Russian State Emblem displays monarchic symbols of the Russian empire,
      academician Valeria Porokhova believes (Porokhova translated Quran into
      Russian). "Modern Russia is a secular state indeed. The presence of
      Christian symbols can't help hurting Muslims' feelings at this point," the
      scientist said.

      "There are no Orthodox symbols on the State Emblem of Russia. The Orthodox
      cross has eight ends, although the crosses on the Emblem represent the
      general cultural value," Russia's chief specialist of heraldry, Georgy
      Vilinbakhov said. As for Victorious Georgy affecting a dragon, it is an
      ancient pre-Christian, pagan symbol, which was associated with Christianity
      historically.

      The Russian population counts about 144 million people. There is no
      official statistics on the percentage of people practicing various
      religions, although over 50 percent of Russians call themselves Orthodox
      Christians. The number of Muslims in Russia approximately makes up 14
      percent of the entire population. Protestants make the third largest
      religious group in Russia, although this information does not have an
      official confirmation. About 600,000 Russians practice Judaism. Buddhism is
      the traditional religion in Buryatia, Tuva and Kalmykia republics with up
      to two million followers.
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