Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated the Muslim community on Tuesday for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.

Putin said the holiday draws believers to the origins and values of Islam, calls for mercy, justice, and piety, careful and cordial attitude to others.

“These high humanistic and moral ideals, which are the basis of all world religions, serve as a powerful unifying force, contribute to strengthening interethnic harmony in society and preserving the cultural diversity and original traditions of our people,” Putin said in a statement published on the Kremlin website.

Eid-al Adha commemorates the willingness of the Prophet Ibrahim, or Abraham, to sacrifice his son at God’s command before the last-minute divine substitute of a ram.

Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin joined in a separate statement and said the holiday is “a time of prayers, good deeds, caring for relatives and friends.”

“Today, the Muslim community of Russia is doing a lot for constructive interaction with state authorities, the development of interfaith dialogue. The great educational activity of religious leaders deserves sincere respect, thanks to which centuries-old Islamic traditions, unique culture, and education are preserved, (Islamic) universities are being opened, architectural monuments are being restored, new mosques are being built,” he said.

He noted the efforts of the Muslim community aimed at strengthening the institution of the family, educating young people and affirming the ideals of mutual respect and tolerance in Russian society.

Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin said it unites believers and brings up a careful attitude to the traditions of Islam.

“The holiday carries a deep moral meaning, encourages one to think about the eternal values that are close to every person: spiritual fortitude, mercy, love for others,” he said.

Sobyanin praised the contribution of the Muslims to the development of interfaith dialogue, cultural and educational projects and wished all Muslims “good health, peace, prosperity, success in endeavors and deeds.”

Russia has the largest Muslim population in Europe. Islam is the second-largest religion in Russia after Christianity, with about 30 million Muslims living in Russia.

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