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    Russian Muslim leader calls for crescent as part of national emblem

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    A Muslim crescent should be part of Russia's national emblem along with Orthodox crosses, Chief Mufti of Russia Talgat Tadzhuddin said on Friday in an interview with Moskovskiye Novosti daily.

    A Muslim crescent should be part of Russia's national emblem along with Orthodox crosses, Chief Mufti of Russia Talgat Tadzhuddin said on Friday in an interview with Moskovskiye Novosti daily.

    Tadzhuddin, the head of the Central Muslim Spiritual Directorate in the southwest Russian republic of Bashkiria and the Chief Mufti of Russia proposed adding the Muslim crescent above one of the crowns that decorate Russia's symbol, the double-headed eagle.

    In February, Tadzhuddin shared his idea with President Dmitry Medvedev. The president "listened attentively," the imam said.

    Since about 18% of Russia's population (20 million people) is Muslim, the national emblem should equally symbolize all the religious minorities living in the country, Tadzhuddin said.

    "Our ancestry has lived here for ages. We have united into one state by Divine will. So our neighbor is like a brother," Moskovskiye Novosti quoted Tadzhuddin as saying.

    In February, Tadzhuddin suggested establishing a "spirituality tax" to raise money for the construction of new mosques and cathedrals. The tax was to be collected from all residents of Bashkiria, regardless of their faith.

    MOSCOW, April 15 (RIA Novosti)

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