03 May 2011, 10:09
Chechen mufti dismisses U.S. commission's criticism of lack of religious freedom in republic
Grozny, May 3, Interfax - Chechen Mufti Sultan Mirzayev has dismissed conclusions by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom that freedom of religion and other freedoms are violated in Chechnya.
"We deem it necessary to state that the right to freedom of religion guaranteed by the Russian Constitution is fully exercised in the Chechen Republic. There has not been a single fact of denial of registration of a religious association, regardless of its faith," the Chechen Muslim Board said in an official statement.
"While there was not a single mosque in the republic at the beginning of the 1990s, they exist in all populated areas now. The Archangel Michael Cathedral has been rebuilt virtually from bottom up in the center of Grozny. Orthodox Christian churches are also being built in other places where groups of Orthodox believers live," Mirzayev said.
"The republic's leadership permanently supports religious associations of Muslims and Christians. If need be, houses of worship for members of other faiths will be built," he said.
The conclusions that freedom of religion is violated in Russia on the whole and in the Chechen Republic in particular "have been made without carefully examining the situation, which can only be regretted," he added.
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