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    MUFTI RAVIL GAINUTDIN WISHES ALL RUSSIANS A HAPPY NEW YEAR

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    MOSCOW, January 1, 2004. /RIA Novosti correspondent Olga Lipich/. Ravil Gainutdin, chairman of Russia's Board of Muftis, has wished all Russians a happy New Year.

    "I wish in the new year 2004 peace, prosperity and wellbeing to every family," the mufti emphasised in a RIA Novosti interview.

    He also wished that "misfortunes pass us by and success attend us".

    "The New Year festivities have no religious undertones," remarked Gainutdin. "They are a gay, kind and, above all, family holiday which all citizens of this country love, and the Russian Muslims are no exception," the mufti concluded.

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