The chairman of Russia’s Council of Muftis, the country’s main group representing the Muslim community, has asked the top prosecutor to carry out checks into the possible publications of Prophet Muhammad caricatures on the websites and in newspapers.
Ravil Gainutdin’s request to Prosecutor General Yury Chaika comes amid the alleged spread of materials depicting Prophet Muhammad and also texts which characterize him negatively, the Council’s press service said in a statement.
“We believe that such materials are aimed at inciting religious hatred and forming distorted ideas about Islam,” the document says. If such “extremism” materials are found, Gainutdin asks the courts to send warnings to Internet providers about the “inadmissibility of such publications.”
Russia’s media watchdog has to take measures to prevent the spread of caricatures in the Internet and other sources in the country, which is home to some 20 million Muslims.
“On our part, we believe that our direct duty is to foster religious tolerance among the faithful in a multiethnic and multireligious Russia,” he wrote.
Earlier this week, the watchdog said it had conducted what it described as preventative briefing of the country’s central and regional media on how to avoid publishing materials that might incite religious discord.