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Chechnya Pays $126,000 to Newborns Named in Honor of Muhammad

The republic of Chechnya paid $126,000 to families naming newborns on Monday after the founder of Islam.

Monday marked the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad in the tradition of Sunni Islam.

The leader of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, said the charity would pay the $1,000 to infants born on that day who were named in honor of Muhammad or any of the prophet's wives, children or 10 companions to whom he personally promised paradise.

A statement on the Chechen government's website Tuesday said that 126 children, 78 boys and 48 girls, had received the money and that the most popular names were Muhammad and Fatima.

The idea came from Kadyrov's mother, Aimani Kadyrova, whose privately sponsored charity will be giving out the money, Kadyrov wrote on Instagram.

He did not specify whether children from outside Chechnya would qualify for the reward.

The economy of the once-restive Chechnya, now under tight control of strongman Kadyrov, is heavily reliant on subsidies from Moscow.

The Chechen government has previously battled accusations of misspending money on expensive vanity projects such as constructing Russia's biggest mosque in the regional capital, Grozny, and lavish celebrations involving Western celebrities such as Vanessa May, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Hilary Swank.

Material from The Moscow Times has been included in this report.

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