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Chechen president dedicates Israel's biggest mosque

24 march 2014, 13:15
The head of the Russian republic of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, inaugurated Sunday Israel's largest mosque, in a village near Jerusalem whose inhabitants claim descent from Muslim migrants from the Caucasus, AFP reports.

"Chechens were only able to declare their nationality freely 11 years ago thanks to Akhmad Kadyrov who drafted the Chechen constitution and enabled us to say to the world we are Muslim Chechens," he told the gathering.

The new $10-million (7.2 million euros) mosque in the Israeli Arab village of Abu Ghosh, to which Chechnya donated $6 million, is named for the Chechen strongman's father and previous president, Akhmad Kadyrov, who was killed in a bomb attack in 2004.

The new mosque can accomodate more than three thousand worshippers and covers an area of 3,200 square metres (34,400 square feet).

Only the Al-Aqsa mosque in east Jerusalem, whose annexation by Israel is not recognised internationally, is larger.

Villagers on foot and on horseback waved Chechen flags as Kadyrov arrived.

Inside the mosque he joined locals in prayer.

Abu Ghosh mayor Issa Jabr said that the village had ongoing contacts with Chechnya.

"We visited them in 2010 and we talked about communication and cultural exchange," he told AFP.

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