The Russian Council of Muftis appealed to Russian Muslims to not give in to provocations and show the true character of Islam. They called on the faithful not to pour out their anger at the film Innocence of Muslims and to show honour, patience, and compassion. This film insults Muslims; it’s triggered a wave of disturbances in many countries and has become one of the key topics discussed by the Russian authorities in the past few days. They assessed the film as a potential threat to public peace and order. The Genprokuratura intends to ban the distribution of the film. In an interview with VOR, Mufti Albir Krganov, the First Deputy Head of the Central Spiritual Department of Muslims in Russia, believes that the display of the film in Russia would hardly trigger riots, saying, “Prophet Muhammad said that those who cause disorder are like unto those who wake a snake. Consequently, we shouldn’t give into vulgar provocations and should respond in accordance with the law. Insulting the feelings of the faithful is extremely blasphemous; only the corrupt do it, those with no discernment or conscience. The law should severely punish such people, in order to maintain peace and composure in society”.
However, some believe that maintaining the peace is nothing but serving the Russian authorities’ interests. Geidar Dzhemal, Chairman of the Russian Islamic Committee said, “Why should we give in? What specifically are we giving up? Why shouldn’t we express our indignation? The Council of Muftis is simply a special service of the presidential administration; it’s only concerned about the interests of the authorities, not the interests of ordinary Muslims. Expressing our indignation is good for Muslims, whilst showing no response is in the interests of authorities”.
Meanwhile, Damir-Khazrat Gizatullin, First Deputy Chairman of the Spiritual Department of Muslims in European Russia, believes that true Muslims shouldn’t draw attention to such provocations and should direct their energy to spiritual development and creative work, saying, “We see that regional heads of those regions with a large Muslim population, along the Volga, in Tatarstan and Bashkortostan, as well as the North Caucasus, support the campaign for banning this provocative film. During Friday prayers, and, even now through this radio broadcast, we call on Muslims not to give into provocations, but to work, build up our families, protect our state, become educated, and make the Hajj and return home safely”. In his blog, Damir-Khazrat said that composure doesn’t mean indifference or cowardice. Moreover, Russia has sufficient moral and judicial resources to counter such threats.
20 September 2012
Voice of Russia World Service