Putin Congratulates Muslims on End of Ramadan
Russian President Vladimir Putin pleaded for a multi-ethnic state in a message of congratulations Wednesday to Muslims in Russia marking the end of the Ramadan fasting month.
"In our country we have a profound respect for Muslim culture, traditions and faith," Putin said in his message according to extracts released by the Kremlin.
The Russian president stressed that "a civilized dialogue between all peoples" was "an essential condition for a prosperous, multi-ethnic Russia."
"Traditional spiritual values bring people together and enable mutual understanding, consolidating civil harmony," he added.
Russian forces rolled into the mainly Muslim republic of Chechnya in October 1999, and have since waged war on separatist rebels, some of whom adhere to radical Wahhabite Islam -- MOSCOW (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)