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Responding to the international release of a new issue of the French magazine Charlie Hebdo, the front page of which features a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad, officials from the Georgian Orthodox and Russian Orthodox churches have condemned insults to Muslims’ religious convictions.
“Caricatures insulting the Muslims’ religious feelings have been released again in a large print run,” the Patriarchate of Georgia wrote in an official statement, according to an Interfax report. “We are therefore saying that as lynching and terrorism cannot be justified, so the profanation of the Muslim or any other religious values must be condemned.”
Archpriest Vsevold Chaplin, head of the of the Synodal Department for Church and Society Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, also spoke out against the cartoon.
“We need to fight against terror; terror can’t be justified. But it doesn’t mean that we have to side with provocative blasphemy or insult of certain personalities,” he said.
Georgia’s population is largely Orthodox Christian, but a sizable minority of about 10% is Muslim. Estimates of religious affiliation in the Russian Federation vary, but recent surveys indicate anywhere between 41% and 73% of the population is Orthodox Christian, while about 6.5% is Muslim.
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