By Natalya Kovalenko
Jul 6, 2011
Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev counts on Moslem religious leaders to back him in the fight against terrorism and extremism.
This Wednesday, the president met with muftis in the city of Nalchik in Russia’s northern Caucasus. This meeting took place the next day after a meeting of the Russian Council for Civil Society and Human Rights in the same city, where Mr. Medvedev also took part.
One of the main topics discussed at the council’s meeting was the fate of former members of terrorist groups. Mr. Medvedev believes that those who haven’t committed serious crimes must be allowed to return to peaceful life. However, those who were once tried for terrorism must by no means occupy big posts.
“We must work out clearly outlined laws that won’t allow former terrorists to occupy big posts or be involved in large-scale business,” the president said.
At the meeting with muftis, Mr. Medvedev returned to the same topic. He noted that Moslem religious organizations are doing a lot to make the Caucasus peaceful. “Sometimes, a religious leader must be very bold to openly say that real Islam has nothing to do with violence,” the president said. “In the last year, over 20 muftis, who tried to withstand extremist interpretations of Islam, were killed.”
“Unfortunately,” he continued, “we cannot do away with terrorism overnight. But it is inspiring that we are united in our aims and our efforts. At present, many people of non-Moslem nationalities, who have fled from the Caucasus because of unrest, are coming back to their once abandoned homes. It is up to Moslem organizations to create a friendly atmosphere for these people.”
One of the participants in the Nalchik meeting, mufti Damir Mukhetdinov, says: “A mufti must be long-sighted and tolerant. For centuries, Russians and other non-Moslem peoples have lived in the Caucasus next to Moslems – and they have always managed to find a common language. Muftis must preach tolerance and try to stop any manifestations of extremism. Fortunately, the heads of Chechnya and other Russian Caucasian regions always take it into account that these regions are populated with people of diverse cultures and religions. We have very good relations with the Russian Orthodox Church. We are trying to establish good relations with other confessions as well.”
In their turn, the muftis asked the president to allow more Russian Moslems to make pilgrimages to Arabia. At present, the existing quota makes up 20 thousand people a year. However, this is too little, for it is one of the main postulates of Islam that every Moslem must make a hajj (pilgrimage) to the shrines of Mecca and Medina at least once in his or her lifetime.
Dmitry Medvedev promised to regulate this question with Saudi Arabia’s authorities.
Source: Moscow Times