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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Moslems Add Voices to Din Over Racism

Russia's Moslem leaders on Monday joined a growing chorus of critics angry at the Communist Party for defending anti-Semitic remarks by a fellow party member.

The comments by State Duma Deputy Albert Makashov and the Communists' failure to denounce them "evoke serious concern about the fate of civil peace and interethnic accord in Russia," Russia's Moslem Board said in a statement quoted by Itar-Tass.

Makashov's remarks - he blamed Russia's troubles on "zhidy," or "yids" - were the latest example of anti-Semitism in a country where discrimination against Jews runs deep and has been increasingly given expression by Communist and nationalist politicians.

Moslems, who make up the second-largest religious group in Russia after Orthodox Christians, are also often targeted for discrimination.

The Moslem statement Monday said, "Especially disturbing is the unanimity with which the Communist Party faction not only virtually supported its member, but also started a discussion in support of his extremist views."

"Russia can survive as a great country only through respect for all" peoples, the statement said.

The Communist-dominated Duma, the lower house of parliament, refused to censure Makashov last week, and many members openly offered support.