Voices from Russia

Saturday, 27 January 2018

Putin Met with Muftis of Russia’s Muslim Spiritual Administrations

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During a trip to Ufa, President V V Putin met with muftis from the Muslim spiritual administrations. Meeting participants discussed current problems relating to cooperation between the government and Muslim religious organisations. Putin said:

I think that it’s important that we meet regularly and discuss issues that interest Russian Muslims, holders of other faiths, and all the citizens of our country in general. Today, in Ufa, we celebrate the 225th anniversary of the foundation of the Muslim Spiritual Assembly established by imperial decree. At that time, at the end of the 18th century, Islam won official recognition as a traditional Russian religion. Naturally, this helped Muslims become true Russian patriots. Islam became a significant factor in our social and political life and made an invaluable contribution to our society’s spiritual and cultural development. Once again, I congratulate you on this historic date.

I’d like to thank you for your work and talk to you about current global trends, including in religious life. Today, an active, and not always positive, process of politicising religion is underway at the global level. This occurs in different directions and in different religions, including Islam. In these circumstances, government authorities and the Russian Muslim community have new problems and challenges. Of course, we can only resolve them together; we’ve talked about this together many times now. Some political parties use Islam, or rather its radical tendencies (which, incidentally, are historically foreign to Russian Muslims), in order to weaken our state, to create zones of so-called externally-driven conflicts in Russian territory, to encourage friction between different ethnic groups and within the Muslim community, and to fan separatist sympathies in the regions. I’m convinced that we must counter such attempts to create divisions using Russian Muslims’ faith in their historical traditions and partnerships with other religions, particularly the Russian Orthodox Church.

Of course, hierarchical command structures are alien to Islam (as, to be frank, they are to many other world religions), which has a variety of different schools and movements. However, Russian Muslims have always been united in their service to society and the state, and against external enemies and all forms of extremism. I am sure that we can maintain and strengthen this unity, even today. We should see Islam’s new “socialisation” as developing traditional Muslim lifestyles, thinking, and views in accordance with current social realities, as opposed to the ideology of radicals, bringing believers back to the Middle Ages. New forms of work… through Muslim cultural centres, Islamic science and education centres, and youth and women’s clubs… are important here. I believe that you can make an important contribution to the social adaptation of people who come to live and work in Russia. Many of them share your religion. They need to hear your voice and feel your presence; otherwise, they become victims of propaganda from various fundamentalist sects.

I also believe that the voice of Russian Muslim leaders should resonate louder in the international arena, amongst the global Islamic community. Today, tensions between the West and the Islamic world are on the rise. Some people try to mess around with this issue and throw fuel on the fire. I want to tell you straight away… we aren’t interested in this. However, at the same time, today, Russia’s presence is in increased demand in the Middle East and the Islamic world as a whole. Moreover, we need to be more proactive, debunking harmful attempts to manipulate humanity using countries and peoples, information and public consciousness. Russia isn’t interested in splitting up or redrawing the Islamic world; on the contrary, it maintains a consistent steady position in favour of strengthening its unity.

In order to meet the challenges of our time successfully, it’s necessary, firstly, to ensure the high credibility of Russia’s Muslim clergy and its Islamic theological schools. Today, there are 82 centralised registered Islamic religious organisations in Russia. Muslims are well aware of the first sura of the Quran, according to which there is no other prophet except Muhammad. However, at the same time we all understand that we mustn’t forget the spiritual leaders themselves… firstly, they’re people with moral authority that they must use for beneficial purposes. The clergy should be educated and enlightened people who can give a clear and impeccable canonical assessment of the most severe challenges and threats we face today. This initiative should be yours; we can’t pass it on to informal leaders who’re actively involved with the faithful. There are individuals who tend to support theological schools and extremist ideas alien to our country, seek to undermine traditional Islam’s position here, the unity of Russian society, and ultimately desire our country’s collapse.

Based on centuries of national experience in religious education and its rich theological heritage, Russian Islam has everything necessary to have its say in development. Therefore, one of our most important tasks is to reconstruct our own Islamic theological schools, which would ensure the sovereignty of Russia’s spiritual space. Most importantly, the majority of international Muslim scholars would recognise such a move. Such schools must respond to the most recent developments in Russia and the world, and evaluate them in ways that are both understandable and credible for believers. I’m sure that if we can achieve this, it’d help you to provide a clear moral assessment of both good and criminal acts.

27 January 2018

RMC Russian Mufti Council

https://muslim.ru/en/articles/127/4804/

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Ike on the Dedication of the Islamic Centre in DC… It’s NOT Trump the Chump… Mutual Respect, Not “Multiculturalism”, That’s the Ticket

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It’s a privilege to take part in this ceremony of dedication. Meeting with you now, in front of one of the newest and most beautiful buildings in Washington, it’s fitting that we re-dedicate ourselves to the peaceful progress of all men under one God. I’d like to assure you that under the American Constitution, under American tradition, and in American hearts, this Centre, this place of worship, is just as welcome as could be a similar edifice of any other religion. Indeed, America would fight with her whole strength for your right to have here your own church and worship according to your own conscience. This concept is, indeed, a part of America, and without that concept, we’d be something else than what we are.

The countries that sponsored and built this Islamic Centre have for centuries contributed to the building of civilisation. With their traditions of learning and rich culture, the countries of Islam have added much to mankind’s advancement. Inspired by a sense of brotherhood, common to our innermost beliefs, we can here together reaffirm our determination to secure the foundation of a just and lasting peace. Our country has long enjoyed a strong bond of friendship with the Islamic nations; like all healthy relationships, this relationship must be mutually beneficial. Civilisation owes to the Islamic world some of its most important tools and achievements. From fundamental discoveries in medicine to the highest planes of astronomy, the Muslim genius has added much to the culture of all peoples. That genius has been a wellspring of science, commerce and the arts, and has provided for all of us many lessons in courage and in hospitality.

This fruitful relationship between peoples, going far back into history, becomes more important each year. Today, thousands of Americans, both private individuals and governmental officials, live and work… and grow in understanding… amongst the peoples of Islam. At the same time, in our country, many from the Muslim lands… students, businessmen, and representatives of states… enjoy the benefits of experience amongst the people of this country. From these many personal contacts, here and abroad, I firmly believe that there will be a broader understanding and a deeper respect for the worth of all men, and a stronger resolution to work together for the good of mankind.

As I stand beneath these graceful arches, surrounded on every side by friends from far and near, I’m convinced that our common goals are both right and promising. Faithful to the demands of justice and of brotherhood, each working according to the lights of his own conscience, our world must advance along the paths of peace. Guided by this hope, I consider it a great personal and official honour to open the Islamic Centre, and I offer my congratulations to its sponsors and my best wishes to all who enter into its use.

Dwight D Eisenhower

President of the USA

1953-61

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Hizbullah Condemned the ISIS Massacre of Egyptian Christians

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Hizbullah urged Muslims to unite in order to protect Christians from violence. Hizbullah, which the USA considers a terrorist organisation, released a statement condemning yesterday’s terrorist atrocities in Egypt that slaughtered scores of Christians on Palm Sunday. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks. The statement read (and here):

The continuous and escalating killing carried out by criminal gangs in the name of religion is one of the greatest catastrophes our Ummah (global Islamic world community) has seen. This crime is part of a large scheme to displace Christians from the Sinai Peninsula and other areas across Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon, paving the way for sectarian and ethnic federalisation in favour of the Zionist entity.

Hizbullah forms part of the so-called 4+1 coalition fighting Salafi/Wahhabi terrorism. Other members of the coalition include Russia, Iran, Syria, and Iraq. It remains a source of shock for many that the USA condemns Hizbullah in spite of its role in the fight against ISIS and al-Qaeda as well as their support of Christians throughout the wider Arab and Islamic world.

10 April 2017

Adam Garrie

The Duran

http://theduran.com/hezbollah-condemns-the-isis-massacre-of-egyptian-christians/

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Statement on the Martyrdom of Christians on Hosanna Sunday in Egypt

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With palms in their hands, hymns on their lips, and peace in their hearts, New Martyrs were ushered from their churches in Alexandria and Tanta into the Paradise of Joy on Hosanna Sunday, the day and feast of the Lord.

All Christians… know that you are a light in the world, a source of good, and a means for peace. The whole world is under siege by an ideology of hatred… a cancer of the conscience. The same hands that skilfully designed weapons of harm could’ve discovered tools for a cure. This violent act against Christians is because evil can’t coexist with good, darkness can’t overcome light, and hatred can’t befriend peace, but death can’t separate us from God.

He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall He take away from off all the earth: for the Lord has spoken it.

Prophecy of Isaias 25.8

All our churches and noble citizens throughout the world are praying for the peace and safety of all persecuted Christians, Confessors, and Martyrs. Holy Week is a time devoted to the Lord’s Passion. At all times, the Lord loved. Even when afflicted and crucified, He loved. This is a time for prayer for the entire world. We remain in prayer for the safety of His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, all the Confessors of the Christian faith, the families of the Martyrs, and all the injured victims. On behalf of the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States, I offer our deepest condolences to everyone afflicted by this sad day in Egyptian history.

+Bishop Youssef

Ruling Hierarch

Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States

10 April 2017

Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States

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