The president of Russia's republic of Chechnya has inaugurated a new, $10 million mosque in an Arab village in Israel.
Ramzan Kadyrov said on Sunday that it was an honor to visit "this good and holy land" during a stop in the village of Abu Ghosh.
Isa Jabar, the village's mayor, says Chechnya donated $6 million for the mosque. He says some villagers trace their ancestry to 16th century Chechnya and the Caucus region. "The mosque will become a symbol of Abu Gosh," he said, "and even though this is a religious structure, it will also be a symbol of the brotherhood between religions and peoples. Three of the minarets symbolize the three monotheistic religions and the fourth minaret represents the rest of the world's religions."
The mosque was built in the Ottoman Turkish style, the favored architectural style in Chechnya. It is situated not far from Route 1, and features four minarets, making it the only mosque of its kind in Israel.
Abu Ghosh, near Jerusalem, enjoys good ties with its Jewish neighbors and is a popular culinary destination for Israelis.
Traditionally it is believed that the residents of Abu Ghosh trace their ancestry to the Caucasus region. According to Palestinian-born historian Aref Al-Aref, the first villagers came from a region called Ingusha, located between Chechnya and Georgia. They arrived here as soldiers in the army of Ottoman Sultan Selim I, who conquered Palestine in 1516. The name Abu Gosh, according to geographer and place names expert Yehuda Ziv, is a corruption of the name Ingush.
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