Top imam calls for crescent on Russia's crest: report

15th April 2011, Comments 0 comments

A top Muslim cleric on Friday called for a crescent moon to be added to Russia's double-headed eagle coat of arms to represent the country's multi-million-strong Muslim population.

"We are asking for one of the heads to be topped with a crescent moon and the other to be topped with a Russian Orthodox cross," Talgat Tadzhuddin told the Moskovskiye Novosti daily in an interview.

"All the crowns on the coat of arms -- two on the heads of the eagles and one above them in the middle -- are topped by crosses. But Russia has 20 million Muslims. That's 18 percent of the population," he said in an interview.

The imam, who heads the Central Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Russia, a major regional association, said he sent the proposal to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and showed a sketch to President Dmitry Medvedev.

Most of Russia's Muslims live in historically Muslim regions, such as the North Caucasus, Tatarstan and Bashkortostan, but there is also a huge swell of immigrants from Muslim ex-Soviet states to large cities.

According to the last published census results, Russia in 2002 had around 14.5 million Muslim residents. The findings on religion declared in a census taken last year have yet to be published.

Tadzhuddin serves at the central mosque in Ufa, the capital of the mainly Muslim republic of Bashkortostan. Russia lacks a single governing body for Muslims, and the council he heads is one of three regional associations.

Russia readopted the Tsarist double-headed symbol in 1993. The two heads of the eagle are topped by crosses, and they are linked by a third crown, also topped with a cross.

© 2011 AFP

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