Chechen official Ramzan Kadyrov announced a plan to build an arena-sized mosque in the war-torn region's capital in an effort to attract the Chechens to moderate Islam and discourage extremism.
Kadyrov, first deputy prime minister in Chechnya's Moscow-backed government, said authorities in the southern Russian region are planning to build a mosque that would accommodate 10,000 people and would be the largest in Europe, Interfax reported.
Kadyrov said the mosque and a related religious school "will help spread true Islam that has nothing to do with extremism," Interfax reported.
Separatist rebels who have increasingly identified with Islamic extremists have fought two wars against Russian and pro-Moscow Chechen forces in the past decade.
The mosque - along with an office for regional Muslim leaders and a school - would be built in the center of the Chechen capital, Grozny, near a square named after Kadyrov's father, Akhmad Kadyrov, the Chechen president who was assassinated by terrorists last year, the AP reports.