Russian foreign minister cautions against Muslim-Christian split

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VIENNA, February 15 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's foreign minister warned Wednesday about a possible split between Christians and Muslims in the wake of a scandal around religious cartoon republication in European media.

"The threat of a split between civilizations could be even more frightening than what we lived through in the Cold War period," Sergei Lavrov said during his visit to the St. Nicholas Cathedral in Vienna, Austria.

Lavrov was commenting on the global situation that has emerged after cartoons of Prophet Mohammed appeared in the European media in what editors described as a display of press freedom. The caricatures sparked a wave of protests, some of which turned violent, and anger in the Muslim community.

The minister said the Russian Orthodox Church could help prevent such a split.

After his visit to the cathedral, Lavrov said he had held bilateral meetings with Austrian President Heinz Fischer and Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik on Tuesday as well as Luxembourg's prime minister, Jean-Claude Juncker, who is also in the Austrian capital.

Lavrov is currently in Vienna to discuss the situation around Iran's controversial nuclear programs with representatives of the European Union, which Austria currently presides over.

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