The Council of Muftis of Russia has criticized protests against the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Turkey organized by radical Islamic political parties.
According to the RIA Novosti news agency, the vice president of the Council of Mufties of Russia, Damir Guizatullin, said, “We do not support those actions, which we consider to be counterproductive. We have always held that in order to foster harmony and peace between diverse peoples and religious there needs to be dialogue.”
According to the Muslim leader, the protests do not reflect the opinion of the majority of Turks. Some 100,000 Muslim teachers, as well as the leaders of the country, welcome the visit by the Holy Father.
Guizatullin also said he was asked by Turkey’s Minister for Religious Affairs, during phone call, about how Muslims in Russia feel about the Pope’s visit, and told him Muslims there have no plans to protest the trip, and are actually very much in support of the trip.
“At the Council of Muftis we spoke about the unacceptability of provoking a confrontation between different religions and ethic groups,” Guizatullin stressed.