Orthodox Christianity and Islam are based on the same fundamental values, President Vladimir Putin said in an address to a religious conference in Kyrgyzstan.
The conference, titled "Orthodoxy and Islam — Religions of Peace," aimed to promote interethnic and interreligious dialogue between Russia and Kyrgyzstan.
"Islam and Orthodox Christianity, just like other world religions, are based on fundamental humanistic values that are of enduring importance — on mercy and love for one’s near, justice and respect for human beings," the state-run TASS news agency quoted Putin as saying Thursday.
The address, which was read out to the conference by Russian Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan Nikolai Udovichenko, pushed for cooperation between government agencies and religious organizations to bolster "civil peace and accord" between the two countries.
The Russian president added that it is "essential" to preserve these ties for future generations and to “[enhance] the role of religious organizations in protecting and promoting spiritual, moral and family values.”
Islam is Russia’s second-largest religion behind Orthodox Christianity and its Muslim population is expected to more than double in the next 15 years. The majority of Kyrgyzstan's population is Muslim.