Attack on Wahhabi Islam divides Russian Muslims


Interfax-Religiia, 2 April 2018


The Council of Muftis of Russia spoke in opposition to the initiative of the Inter-religious Council of Russia to consider Wahhabism to be an extremist ideology and Wahhabi organizations to be extremist.


"While deeply aware of the vital importance of combating the ideology of intolerance and devoting great efforts in this direction, we nevertheless consider that the introduction of the principle of prosecution of believers for their convictions and not for specific illegal actions will have a most harmful effect both on the Muslim community of Russia and inter-ethnic harmony and on the legal culture of the Russia state," the statement of the Council of Muftis says, which was posted on Monday on its website.


As was reported, the aforementioned suggestion was voiced by the mufti of Tatarstan, Kamil Samigullin, at a session of the Inter-religious Council of Russia on 27 March in Moscow. The Inter-religious Council supported the mufti's initiative and approved a corresponding appeal to agencies of government.


Meanwhile today, several days after the session, the Council of Muftis declared the "obvious legal imprecision" of this resolution and its violation of the principle of the separation of religious associations from the state.


The statement of the Council of Muftis points out that the draft of the text of the resolution had not been circulated beforehand, and not all members of the presidium of the Inter-religious Council of Russia were acquainted with it and, besides, several minutes before the start of the session, the official representative of the Council of Muftis to the Inter-religious Council, Damir Mukhetdinov, had been called away from this event.


The Council of Muftis also stated opposition to the creation of regional divisions of the Inter-religious Council of Russia in Piatigorsk and Kazan, considering that "it should remain a body of the federal level."


Wahhabism is a religious and political movement in Islam that was formed in the 18th century. Wahhabis consider that their primary task is to struggle for the purification of Islam from various impurities that are, from their point of view, alien to it. At the same time Wahhabis consider that genuine Islam was practiced by only the first three generations of followers of the Prophet Muhammed, and they protest against all subsequent innovations. (tr. by PDS, posted 2 April 2018)



Interfax-Religiia, 2 April 2018


The Religious Assembly of Muslims of Russia supports the initiative of the Inter-religious Council of the country to send to the authorities a suggestion for the prohibition of the movement of Wahhabism.


"The suggestion of Kamil-Hazrat (the mufti of Tatarstan, Kamil Samigullin—IF) and the suggestion of other respected religious leaders is not being sounded for the first time, and we support it; it is our joint position," the mufti of Moscow and head of the Religious Assembly of Muftis of Russia, Albir Krganov, told an Interfax-Religiia correspondent on Monday.


He said that time has already shown that peace and stability in Russia and other Muslim countries have been maintained while relying on traditional Islam.


"They are trying to bring to us an alien Islamist idea that has become the cause of the radicalization of youth. Books of the famous writers Ibn Taymiyyah

 and Abd al-Wahhab, which Kamil-Hazrat mentioned, have led in the end to the radicalization of their readers and of several religious leaders and groups," the mufti thinks.


Muslim leaders know well that wherever in Russia these books have been distributed, "we then got the problem of radicalization," A. Krganov notes.


"Colleagues from other Muslim regions of the world have spoken to us about this: wherever the books of these scholars have been distributed, radical extremists, inexplicable revolutions, overthrow of authorities, death, and tears have inescapably appeared," the mufti of Moscow said.


He pointed out that K. Samigullin's speech at the Inter-religious Council of Russia, where the mufti of Tatarstan proposed finding Wahhabism to be an extremist movement, became a "litmus test," since it drew several tens of thousands of "dislikes," and signatures against it and in support of Wahhabism, mainly from Russian-speaking citizens.


"This figure should become a signal that it is necessary to give attention to this problem. We must, acting on Russian legislation without infringing the rights of believing people that are guaranteed to them by the constitution, work out laws that would help Russian civil society to put an end to attempts to cultivate such a form of extreme religious convictions," the Muslim leader is sure.


He said that Tatarstan has a positive experience in the struggle with radical movements, and the deputy head of the muftiate of the republic, Valiull Yakupov, who was later killed by extremists, shortly before his death "very clearly" justified the necessity and possibility of banning the Wahhabi movement in Russia. A recent interview of the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Muhammed ibn Salman, with the Washington Post also spoke about support for this initiative, A. Krganov noted. . . . (tr. by PDS, posted 2 April 2018)



RIA Novosti, 28 March 2018


The Inter-religious Council of Russia sent to federal authorities a request to find all Wahhabi organizations operating in the country to be extremist and to condemn the ideology itself as terrorist, documents of the results of the council's session distributed on Wednesday say.


"Members of the Inter-religious Council of Russia stressed the necessity of sending to the state leadership of the Russian federation a suggestion to condemn the ideology of Wahhabism as terrorist, and to find organizations that are preaching this ideology to be terrorist organizations," the synodal Department for Relations of Church and Society and News Media of the Moscow patriarchate reports.


A relevant proposal was included in the summary resolution of the Inter-religious Council of Russia: "To send to agencies of governmental authority a suggestion for finding Wahhabism to be an extremist ideology and Wahhabi organizations to be extremist organizations," the text of the resolution says specifically.


A number of Muslim leaders of Russia have already previously issued such a suggestion. Thus, in 2016 the so-called Grozny fatwa was adopted which was supported by the muftiates of Chechnya, Dagastan, and Tatarstan, and representatives of the Coordinating Center of Muslims of the North Caucasus and the Central Ecclesiastical Board of Muslims. According to the text, the document "is the unanimous decision of muftis and scholars of Russia and is obligatory for fulfillment by all Muslim organizations on the territory of the Russian federation," and it distinguishes supporters of true Islam from adherents of sects, specifically condemning Wahhabism, which was created in the 18th century on the Arabian peninsula. However several Muslim organizations still did not support the document in its original form; in particular, the Council of Muftis of Russia called for its improvement.


Wahhabism is a radical movement and its adherents are characterized by an intolerant attitude toward Muslims who adhere to other varieties of Islam. The prohibition on professing Wahhabism has been in effect in Chechnya since 2000.


The Inter-religious Council was created in 1998 and unites religious leaders of the four traditional confessions of Russia: Orthodoxy, Islam, Judaism, and Buddhism. The chairman of the Inter-religious Council of Russia is Patriarch of Moscow and all-Rus Kirill. (tr. by PDS, posted 2 April 2018)

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