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In his meeting with Russian Deputy Mufti
Grand Ayatollah Fazel Stresses Complete Freedom of Russian Shiite Muslims

News department:  Grand Ayatollah Fazel Lankarani called on the deputy mufti of Russia, Murad Murtazein Tuesday11 Jan 2005.  His Eminence expressed hope that in his journey the Mufti would have good achievements for his country. 

"Since freedom of belief is man's right and Islam also gives such a right to man {There is no compulsion in religion}, I believe that Muslims should be able everywhere in the world to act in accordance with their beliefs and to preach their faith to others.  I have heard that you are caring equally about all Muslims including Shiites yet I request that the Shiites of Russia be given the right to act upon their beliefs and preach the their religion to others and have mosques and organizations for themselves." Grand Ayatolla Fazel stated.

His Eminence added, "Keeping in view that the population of the Shiites in Russia is about two million, which you yourself admit, we hope that they can perform their rituals freely and that upon your return to Moscow the entire Muslims specially the Shiites, who maintain close relation with us, will not face any problems from the government's side and they are allowed to live, like all other Muslims, a life without restrictions.  The Shiites do not have any political problem with the government and they are not doing anything that might create a problem. We hope you are successful in doing your responsibility and in being a source of help for Muslims – and you are already a source of help Al-hamdu lillah.

At the end, Murad Murtazein also conveyed greetings of Russian Muslims who make a sizable population of about twenty million people. He said that he concentrated his efforts to help Muslims learn Islamic teachings, Quranic commentaries and prophetic traditions. 

Murad Murtazein noted, "There are as many as six thousand mosques in Russia which are also being used as religious schools. Tens of thousand of young people have returned to their original Fitra i.e. the religion. There are two large religious schools in Russia one of which is operating in Moscow and the other in Kazan. They are being used for training and educating prayer leaders and preachers."

He added, "We are now having close relation with seminary institutes like Assembly of the Approximation of Religions and Russian Shiites and we are proud of the Iranian nation."

He further stated, "Iran is the forerunner of the army of Islam and it is a pioneer in propagating Islam and preaching its teachings."

He said that he and the people who were accompanying him visited the International Center for Islamic Studies (ICIS) and Ayatollah Mara'shi Najafi library which he described as a huge task carried out by religious scholars and Imam Khomeini on the top of them.