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    MOSCOW BUILDS HUGE KRISHNA CENTER. OTHER RELIGIONS SKEPTICAL

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    MOSCOW, JANUARY 29 (RIA NOVOSTI) - Russia's Interreligious Council is set against a Krishna worship center, one of Moscow's most ambitious current construction projects. Religious leaders think its sheer presence will clash with Muscovite historical and cultural traditions, they replied to our correspondent at a news conference today.

    Addressing the conference were Interreligious Council Presidium members - Metropolitan Cyril of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, in charge of the Moscow Patriarchate Department of External Church Relations; Berl Lazar, Chief Rabbi of Russia on behalf of the FEOR, Jewish Communities Federation of Russia; and Muhammad-Ghali Khuzin, Mufti of the Perm Region in the Urals and vice-president of the Russian Muslim Board.

    "It is wrong to build a huge Krishna-ite center, which will take a dominant architectural and cultural position in the city. A majority of Muscovites may misunderstand its presence," said Metropolitan Cyril.

    "Let them build it - provided they have due respect for cultural traditions. The thing ought not to get out of proportion. Otherwise, it may arouse public prejudice." The hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church illustrated his point with a recent misunderstanding as it intended to build a church in Zurich. Municipal officers banned construction lest the edifice built on Russian architectural patterns clash with the city outlook. "As a result, we had to buy a Protestant church. I think Moscow is to make a similar arrangement," he remarked.

    "Russia has thousand-year-long antecedents of Christian Orthodoxy, Islam, Judaism and Buddhism. To build a major Krishna worship center in its capital will be blasphemous, to an extent," added Mufti Muhammad-Ghali Khuzin.

    "There are religions of global purport. We ought to beware of aggressive missionary activities in Russia by religions and confessions non-established in this country. We can only regret that many sects are active in Russia. Authorities are to cast an attentive glance at what Krisha-ites are doing here," Rabbi Berl Lazar said with conviction.

    The City Council determined last week to allot a hectare plot in Khodynka Field, in the city's northwest, for a giant Krishna worship center.

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