• Russian president gets a copy of Quran as a gift during his visit to Juma Mosque of Derbent

MOSCOW (Agencies): Quran was sacred for Muslims, and for everyone else, it should be and really was sacred, said Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday.

“We know that in other countries they treat it differently — they do not respect people’s religious feelings and then also have the audacity to say that it is not a crime,” Putin said after he was gifted a copy of the Quran during his visit to the Juma Mosque of Derbent in Dagestan.

The Juma Mosque is known as the oldest mosque in Russia. The visit came on Thursday’s first day of Eid al Adha.

His comments came after the Holy Quran was desecrated in Sweden with court permission, prompting protests and condemnations from the Muslim nations. Such incidents have been reported in the country in the past as well.

Police in the Swedish capital had granted a protestor a permit for the protest in line with free-speech protections, but said later they had opened an investigation into the man over “agitation”.

The incident occurred as Muslims around the world began marking the Eidul Azha holiday and as the annual Hajj pilgrimage to Makkah in Saudi Arabia was drawing to a close.

“In our country, it is a crime – according to both the Constitution and Article 282 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, it is a crime: disrespect and inciting of ethnic and religious strife, and we will have to stick to these legal rules,” said Putin.

He thanked the mosque administration and said: “It will find its worthy place in the Kremlin.

Putin visited the architectural and archaeological complex of the Naryn-Kala citadel and the Juma Mosque in Derbent that have federal monument status and are UNESCO World Heritage sites.

The Naryn-Kala citadel was built in the sixth century and is part of Derbent’s ancient defence system. Most of the complex was built in the eighth century; the main cathedral mosque building, the madrassah and residential buildings have been preserved up to this day.

Russian lawmakers condemned the desecration of the Quran in Stockholm, Anadolu Agency reported.

The State Duma, lower chamber of the Russian Parliament, adopted a statement, decrying the Sweden authorities’ authorisation for such actions.

“The deputies of the State Duma strongly condemn another vandalism action approved by the Swedish authorities and urge the officials to take measures to prevent violations of the rights and insults to the religious feelings of Muslims,” it said.

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