for Reuters on Jan. 22, 2011
MOSCOW - Russia will soon launch a Muslim television channel in the hope it will foster tolerance after the capital saw some of the worst clashes since the fall of the Soviet Union, state-run media reported on Tuesday.
Proposed by President Dmitry Medvedev two years ago, the satellite channel will go on air in February or March across Russia, home to some 20 million Muslims, or a seventh of the country's population.
"We believe it is necessary to cultivate a spirit of tolerance towards representatives of other faiths," RIA news agency quoted Russia's chief Mufti Ravil Gaynutdin as saying, adding programmes will be designed for a young audience.
Neo-nationalist movements have been gaining ground over the past year, shocking authorities and many Russians. At rallies, some chanted slogans such as "Russia is for Russians!"
In December, Moscow saw the worst nationalist riots in its post-Soviet history, with police unable to stop some 7,000 youths who gathered near the Kremlin from beating people of non-Slavic appearance.
Read more: http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKLDE70H2G320110118