Airport riot ‘attempt to sow discord’ between Russia’s Jews, Muslims: Orthodox leader

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Moscow’s Orthodox spiritual leader, Patriarch Kirill, on Monday condemned an anti-Israel riot at an airport in the Muslim-majority region of Dagestan as a bid to “sow discord” between Russia’s Jews and Muslims.

The powerful religious leader spoke a day after a violent mob descended onto Makhachkala airport looking for Jews after a flight from Israel had landed.

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There was “no moral justification for those who planned to attack innocent people,” he said of Sunday’s incident, adding: “I see what happened as an attempt to sow discord between Muslims and Jews in Russia, who over centuries maintained good relations of friendship and cooperation.”

Russia’s aviation watchdog Rosaviatsiya said on Monday that flights from Tel Aviv to Makhachkala and Mineralniye Vody, both in Russia’s heavily Muslim North Caucasus, would be temporarily redirected to other cities.

The interior ministry said earlier that 60 people had been arrested after an anti-Israeli mob stormed Makhachkala airport in the Dagestan region on Sunday as a plane arrived from Israel.

Kirill, a fervent supporter of President Vladimir Putin saw outside interference in the riot, as did the Kremlin.

“I have no doubt that forces who provoked this incident will stop at nothing to cause disorder in our country,” he said in a statement, adding: “In these events we see an attempt to put this alien confrontation onto our land.”

Patriarch Kirill welcomed calls by Dagestan’s religious leaders to stop the violence and called “for them to be listened to.”

He also called on Russians of all faiths “to value with all forces and strengthen this inter-religions world that was built by many generations of our ancestors.”

Patriarch Kirill sat between Russia’s main mufti and chief rabbi last week as the religious leaders met with Putin in the Kremlin to discuss avoiding tensions between Russia’s different religious communities over the war between Israel and Hamas.

With agencies

Read more:

Protesters angry over Gaza war storm Russia’s Dagestan airport in search of Israelis

Kremlin: Dagestan airport violence result of ‘outside influence’

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