On November 16 the world celebrates the International Day of Tolerance proclaimed by UNESCO. The declaration of the organization, adopted in 1995, defines tolerance as "respect, acceptance and appreciation of the rich diversity of our world's cultures, our forms of expression and ways of being human." The problem of recognizing the fact that human beings, naturally diverse in their appearance, situation, speech, behaviour and values, have the right to live in peace and to preserve their identities is quite acute in modern Russia.
The Deputy Chairman of the Russian Council of Muftis, Rushan Hazrat Abbyasov, notes that this year's celebration of the International Day of Tolerance, the Day of National Unity and one of the great Islamic holidays of Eid al-Adha were practically at the same time: "All of the major celebrations, worship and various activities last for a long period. Every year the organizational level of celebrating the holidays of Islam, including Eid al-Adha, is growing. All of these activities were prepared at a completely different organizational level. All this speaks of our shared culture, the culture of good neighbourliness, because I like that word. Still, "tolerance" is something imposed on us by the West, and we have ancient traditions of good neighbourliness, for we have always lived on good terms, always helped each other, supported, helped and assisted each other.
In Eid al-Adha, we tried to hold as many such events as possible to somehow attach people to our culture and traditions. The basic plan is to share this celebration with needy people, orphans and, naturally, with representatives of different traditions, cultures and religions and to try to get closer to each other.
This year, the Council of Muftis of Russia has held many different activities, not only for the Muslim community, but in general, for all our esteemed representatives of different religions. We are a multi-ethnic, multi-religious country, and of course now we are trying to share our joy with our neighbours, with our loved ones. In addition to sacrificial animals we purchase gifts and food parcels to go to orphanages, to help orphans, to share our joy and celebration and to somehow embellish everyday life.
Thus, the festival provides an opportunity to get to know the traditions and customs of the various peoples who live on the territory of our country as closely as possible. That's why I like the expression "good neighbourliness" - probably our traditions are reflected in it. We thought about promoting and providing a correct understanding of this holiday. Two years ago, with the help of the media the celebration was marred for Muslims, when they showed these stories and said that Muslims sacrifice animals in their courtyards. Of course, we have never called for this, as there are special designated areas. But the holiday was spoiled.
Today, probably, Orthodox Christians do not come to the mosque to listen to sermons of imams and muftis, where we call for good, for peace, for good-neighbourly relations. Probably, faithful Muslims also do not go to any Orthodox church or synagogue to hear the preaching of the clergy. We need some common ground that could bring together people of different nationalities, representatives of different religions, because every nation has rich cultures and traditions; we should try to meet and get closer to each other.
For the first time we are holding the event at such a serious venue, at the Kremlin State Palace with the participation of representatives of traditional religions. We invited foreign participants; incidentally, a genre of Muslim chants is very popular in the Muslim world. Guests come to us from Indonesia, from Turkey, the Islamic Republic of Iran. It will be an interesting event, which I think will also strengthen inter-ethnic and inter-religious relations in our country. Attempts to present domestic disputes and to give them a certain national flavour are a very dangerous phenomenon. The almighty Creator made us different people and said: "I have made you different tribes and nations so that you know each other." "
People's Artist of Russia Vladimir Berezin supports Abbyasov: "We have learned something, we even got used to the word "tolerance", although we have always had it, the same word with a Russian base was clearer and closer, and more accurate. We even know what tolerance is, and among ourselves we often leave sentences and words with dots. When Orthodox believers celebrate their major holidays, they invite friends, because, as my great teacher and great Chechen Mahmoud Esambayev told me, if a holiday in the family occurs without inviting the neighbours, it's not a holiday, it's a get-together. But when the neighbours who live next to you come from across the street, from the neighbouring village, from a neighbouring town, it is a holiday in the highest sense of the word.
Our Buranovskiye Babushki, who recently conquered Europe at Eurovision, are grown-up people who have their own cultural and religious traditions. They did everything so easily, like girls, with such joy and with such intensity, with such a desire to know what it is, when all the people come together to understand each other."
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