Mohammed cartoons used to stir up interfaith strife - Russian mufti

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MOSCOW, February 14 (RIA Novosti) - Cartoons that satirize the Prophet Mohammed, the founder of Islam, or Jesus Christ, revered by Muslims as a prophet, are created by people seeking to stir up interfaith strife, Russia's chief mufti said Tuesday.

"Muslims realize there are certain forces eager to unleash an interfaith war. Muslims are perfectly aware the source is not our Christian or Jewish brethren. It's some political forces, perhaps atheists, who are behind this," Sheikh Ravil Gainutdin, the chairman of the Council of Russian Muftis, told a news conference in the Russian capital.

Commenting on the recent publication in an Azerbaijani weekly of cartoons depicting Jesus and the Virgin Mary, Gainutdin said, "A faithful Muslim person could not have drawn cartoons of Jesus Christ, a saint prophet in Islam, or his mother, the Virgin Mary, known in Islam as St. Mariam. So those who published this cartoon insult the feelings [not just of Christians, but] of 1.4 billion Muslims as well."

Gainutdin also praised Russian Muslims for the restraint they displayed as they joined the rest of the Muslim world in protests against the publication of Mohammad cartoons in European newspapers. In many Muslim countries, the protests turned violent.

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