Voices from Russia

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Tatar Mufti Touts Social Action as Antidote to Islamic Extremism

00 Muslim Woman Praying. Mufti Alban Krganov. Russian Muslim. 09.12


On Wednesday, Mufti Ildar Bayazitov, Deputy Mufti of the predominantly-Muslim Republic of Tatarstan, said that Russian Islamic organisations should get young Muslims involved in socially-oriented and charitable activities to shield them from radicalisation and extremism, pointing up that “socially useful” activity could also help alleviate social tension. He noted that we should give priority to helping drug addicts, prison inmates, disabled persons, large or broken families, elderly people, and orphans, saying, “The focus in official Muslim homiletics in our country should not be on political issues related to Islam, but on its socially useful potential”, adding that radical antisocial dispositions among religious youth often stemmed from unresolved social problems and a perceived lack of social justice.

Last October, the National Antiterrorism Committee said that there’s been an increase in the number of extremism-related crimes in the Volga Federal District, which contains Tatarstan, as well as a rise in the level of latent interethnic and interreligious tension. Committee representative Dmitri Muryshov said, “There’s a trend toward the expansion of radical Islam in heavily-Muslim settlements in the Volga Region”. Many view Tatarstan as a model of interethnic and inter-faith harmony in an ethnically-diverse Russia. However, attacks on moderate Muslim leaders last July, which left Tatarstan Mufti Ildus Faizov severely injured and his former Deputy Valiulla Yakupov dead, were a further troubling indication that radical Islamism is spreading beyond what people consider as its “traditional” borders.

27 March 2013



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