Moscow -- Russia's top Islamic cleric has protested a provincial court order to declare a translation of the Quran as extremist and to destroy it.
Ravil Gainutdin, the head of the Council of Muftis of Russia, said in an open letter to President Vladimir Putin released Monday that the ruling was "illiterate" and "provocative."
The Quran is available in Russian translation, but the court last week ruled that the translation by Elmir Kuliyev published in Saudi Arabia in 2002 violated federal law banning extremist materials.
Gainutdin said that the "Russian Muslims were appalled by the neglect of law shown by the court" in the Black Sea port of Novorossiisk and demanded that the verdict be revoked. He said the court's order to destroy the Muslim holy book was particularly outrageous.