How are things going with the younger generation who converted to Islam? How much is it subject to radical ideas?
Young people, the younger generation, are radicalized today. Now there are attempts from various directions to downplay the danger of this process, to give it a framework of purely intra-religious conflict. But to close our eyes, but what happened in Dagestan with the great sheikh of modernity, Said Afandi, in Tatarstan with the mufti of the republic Ildus khazrat Faizov, his deputy Valiulla Yakupov, many dozens of other religious figures is simply unacceptable. Everything that happens in the Islamic community of Russia suggests that we really are on the edge of a cliff. Russia's geopolitical foes are trying to use the Muslim factor as one of the methods to destabilize the situation in the Russian regions. Here is a small example. Recently, in the Volga Center for Regional and Ethnic-Religious Studies, he gave a lecture on traditional and non-traditional Islam. One of the young listeners turned out to be tabloid. Tabligit is a supporter of Jamaat Tablig. The activity of this movement in the Russian Federation is prohibited. So, according to him, he sets off for three days every month, which corresponds to the Sunnah (tradition) of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him!). The goal of his journey is da'awat (the call of the people to Islam). I came across followers of this movement even before its activities were banned in Russia. The goals, methods of work of this movement with non-Muslims do not correspond to the canons and are simply unacceptable for the conditions of our society. I ask him: “What is stopping you from performing the sunna in another form? Why do you need for three days to go somewhere with incomprehensible goals? What is the point? You are surrounded by relatives, non-Muslim friends. If you so want them to become Muslims show them the beauty of Islam with your good example. The benefits will be much greater than walking like this for three days. ”
Where do they go?
In the villages, usually in urban areas. This is good for India, where there is a lot of non-Muslim population, which from the point of view of missionary work can be attracted to the Islamic appeal. But it is completely unsuitable for Russia, and indeed for the post-Soviet space. There were attempts by the Tabligh movement to conduct work in Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan, but they all failed. But in Kyrgyzstan, Tablig is deeply rooted in the late muftis, he was very loyal to this Indo-Pakistani movement, Tabligh. By the way, some publications by Jamaat Tablig, banned by the Russian court, were published in Bishkek. On the one hand, in these publications there is nothing to incite violence. Any religious text can be interpreted in different ways. In 2003, some circles demanded a ban on the medieval Jewish text "Kitsur Shulchan-Arukh". I, being at that time the head of the Council of Ulama TsDUM of Russia, made a statement that we, the Muslims of Russia, need to speak out in defense of the book. This is a religious treatise, this is a Jewish thought, someone may not like it, but this is a Jewish religious thought. This is the religious tradition of one of the People of Scripture, and therefore we came out in defense of this book. I then said that it would pass, for some time after the ban of this book, religious Muslim writings would be banned. Immediately they accused me of complicity with Zionism, they called me an Israeli agent, they said that they (other centralized Muslim organizations) “will not do this”. In vain. Began bans and Muslim literature. Initially, the real-dangerous for Muslim society, for example, the same “Book of Monotheism” by Abdul-Wahhab, was forbidden. Another thing is that the traditional for Muslims of Russia works have recently been banned. Just recently, the traditional prayer book and moral and ethical writings were banned. Why is this happening? Some gangster was arrested who was hiding behind a religion, he had a library. As a result, without thinking twice, all the books that were there were simply bogged down and all were banned. I believe that it is necessary to take a more responsible approach to the question of prohibitions of literature. Near-religious, extremist literature, frankly provocative translations should be forbidden without any hesitation. But to books, writings, works, really meeting the views traditional for Muslims of Russia in the event of any questions, you need to be very responsible. It is necessary to conduct an examination for the presence of extremism at the federal and regional level, with the involvement of state and religious experts.
How and when did what we call “radical Islam” appear?
In the 13 century, the famous writings of the theologian Ibn Teimii were born. This man, in the period of the Mongol conquests, developed the idea of a struggle. Fighting in Islam or jihad is legal only for defensive purposes, not as aggression or conquest. In addition, in most cases the term “jihad” refers to the struggle with oneself, with one’s ego. Ibn Taymiyah transferred the theory of jihad to the category of struggle with the infidels. Subsequently, by the decision of the supreme judges of all the theological schools of Islam, this man was convicted for numerous distortions of Islamic teachings and, soon, died in prison. So, in Russian there is a term - “infidels”, which is usually our ideological opponents, followers of this Ibn Teymiy, that is, Wahhabis, Salafis and their ilk use them in relation to non-Muslims. From the point of view of both Muslim and universal ethics, this term is incorrect. It turns out that there are believers, that is, Muslims, and there are infidels, that is, non-Muslims. It is not right. Because from the point of view of the Koran, any person, regardless of his religion or nationality, is dear to the Lord. More correct would be the term "innocent". In the 18 century, the ideas of armed jihad were adopted and developed in the Ministry of Colony Affairs of its Royal Majesty. On the agenda was the fight against the Ottoman Empire, which included the Holy areas. In Basra on the Persian Gulf, 23, a young man Abdul-Wahhab, was recruited by the British agent Humphar and began to spread these ideas throughout the Arabian Peninsula and the adjacent region.
And how do you know that Abdel Wahhab was recruited by the British?
It turned out by chance. There are documentary materials published in originals. Some documents were, as it is now called, in the open press. If you remember, recently in Libya, when the Gadhafi headquarters in Tripoli were defeated, and some of the documents went to journalists. So in this situation. British intelligence, in support of the Wahhabi movement and the Wahhabi kingdom, which occupied the Hejaz, allocated funds gigantic in scale of that era.
Mecca, Medina and other holy places for Muslims have not always been in the territory of Saudi Arabia?
Saudi Arabia is an artificial state, it was made by capturing the holy lands, cities of Mecca and Medina, part of North Yemen, where the conflict is still going on. Plus, other parts of the Hijaz, Asher, Nejd region are desert areas east of Mecca and Medina. It is there that the center of the Wahhabi movement is located. This is an area for which no prophetic blessing has been given. There was a case when the envoys of three regions - Sham (present Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, Syria), Yemen and Nejd - wanted to receive a blessing from the Prophet (peace be upon him) on their lands. The Prophet (peace be upon him!) Looked north towards the Levant and asked the Creator of the worlds to bestow grace. Look: how much because of this fertile piece of land fought and how many more years will fight. Yemen, despite the fact that from a modern point of view, this state is underdeveloped and far from being economically sound, however, thanks to the Prophet’s prayer (peace be upon him), grace was bestowed there. The third envoy asked the Prophet (peace be upon him) to read the prayer, but the Prophet (peace be upon him!) Refused, saying at the same time that the “horn of Shaitan”, “the horn of Satan” would appear from there, and this “horn” is exactly Abdul-Wahhab and its movement.
It was there that the Muslims of the traditional schools called the “bloody appeal” appeared. Abdul-Wahhab proclaimed the fight against traditional Islam, calling it paganism. During this struggle, many people were killed, including in holy places. The problem of the entire Islamic world is that the cities of Mecca and Medina are at the mercy of Saudi Arabia, that is, they have actually been occupied since their forced accession. I am not a fan of Ayatollah Khomeini, I am a Sunni, Hanafi on a mazhab, a Mathridian on doctrinal views, and Ayatollah Khomeini is a Shiite. But Imam Khomeini voiced a thought with which I would agree. He called for the liberation of Mecca and Medina from the power of Saudi Arabia and to give them international status. Something like the Muslim Vatican, when every Muslim country according to a certain quota contributes resources to the maintenance of holy territories. After all, there is no oil there, but it is - the holy lands. Moreover, we see that in Russia, and not only, every year there are problems with quotas for pilgrims. To whom more who less. Chaos in this matter wanders from year to year. For example, recently Saudi Arabia has closed entry into the country to Syrian pilgrims. If, from the point of view of international law, each country has the right not to let anyone into its territory, on the other hand, this is a gross violation of religious norms, in fact they decide for God and at the same time violate their own law: after all, Saudi Arabia declares that is a Muslim state.
Earlier in the territory of Mecca and Medina was access for non-Muslims?
There are territories that are “haram”, shrines - are forbidden for non-Muslims to visit. These are not tourist facilities, you cannot go there. As, for example, the territory of the Jerusalem mosque. It is forbidden to visit non-Muslims from the point of view of Muslim orthodoxy, but in some cases non-Muslims can enter its territory to solve some problems. For example, in 1979, the Saudis allowed something completely unacceptable! They allowed French special forces into the territory of the Forbidden Mosque so that they could knock out the self-proclaimed Imam Mahdi.
Formally, they pronounced the Islamic creed?
I do not think that they did it, and if they did it only formally. In this case, their intentions were not sincere. But we cannot know intentions, only the Most High can know. When necessary, the Saudis go to a complete violation of accepted norms.
When did radical Islam first appear in Russia?
After the October Revolution, Reza Fakhrutdinov, who became a mufti, visited 20 in Saudi Arabia, from which he returned with different views. In his works, he criticized all the norms of Islam traditional for the Tatars. It is no coincidence that the Saudis reprinted a book called “Jawami al-Kilyam Sharkhi” filled with attacks on traditional Islam in Tatar language (!) And distributed to Tatar pilgrims!
Were there any repressions against the clergy or were theological books and works destroyed?
I don’t know about books. But God's justice is, he died before he could somehow seriously harm general Muslim affairs. According to one version - he died, according to another - they helped him. The tragic consequences of his further finding at the head of the current TsDUM are unknown, but in the future ordinary Muslims were the leaders at the head of the Central Orthodox Church. But his followers remained. And it is very important to note here that the radicals who fought against traditional Islam appeared in our country even then, in the 30s. For them, the form of Islam that is adopted here is heresy, paganism, unclean.
When did you first encounter radicals in Russia?
In 91 year. The first attempts to spread their influence in Tatarstan took place through youth camps. In 1991, the most eminent professors of the Islamic University, Imam Abdul-Wahhab, came from Riyadh. This is a fairly closed doctrinal school, where they bring up the elite of the Wahhabi world. They gave lectures in the camp, and then on the way between Naberezhnye Chelny and Kazan they had an accident. I then headed the international department of the DUM of Tatarstan, so I had to go to the hospital and be their translator. I was near them almost all the time while they were in the hospital. We communicated with them, as they say, heart to heart. At the last moment, when King Fadh sent an air hospital for them, they said: “Let's work with us, especially since you know the language, you will translate. Let's work together, it will benefit Islam, we will help financially. ” Indeed, those people from among the clergy, with whom they agreed, found a common language and subsequently constituted the backbone of that movement, which ruined the unified spiritual administration of the Muslims of Russia. Then it was called the Spiritual Administration of the Muslims of the European part of the USSR, now TsDUM. People from Riyadh then sowed a split in the Muslim community of Russia.
The presence in Russia of three large Muslim organizations that cannot come to an agreement is the consequence of those events?
Yes. But even despite the fact that there was a split, the Central Spiritual Administration was preserved. I myself worked there until the 2005 year, I headed the “ideological department” - the Council of Ulama, the Theological Council. But there are constant attempts to diminish the role of the Central Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Russia, to reduce it to the level of some useless department. Although история this organization is very weighty. This is one of the oldest organizations in Russia, it has existed for more than 200 years. The decision on its creation was made by Empress Catherine the Great. The Council of Muftis of Russia united those who left TsDUM. We see there a complete internationalization of those who worked with the Saudis, the Qatari, and with everyone in a row, but not with us. It is amazing, but TsDUM, other organizations that are in canonical relations with it, continuing the traditions of Russian Islam are always blamed for the fact that they work with the state. What about the fact that others work with foreign countries and their departments? They for themselves, it turns out, no guilt feel? We work with our state, because our duty and one of the tenets of traditional, classical Islam is: “What cannot be solved with the help of the Quran should be solved with the help of the Sultan,” that is, the authorities. If the problem cannot be solved, relying on the Koran, then the authorities should solve it. If the power does not go against God, then this power is from God. In this we have a principled position.
That is, one can say that traditional Russian Islam has no political ambitions?
No, absolutely no.
You are not for, not against? "Caesar is Caesar's, God of God."
Exactly. Any power is from God. There was a Soviet power, now it is fashionable to find fault with it, but I remember myself as a five-year-old child who was taken to the al-Mardzhani mosque in Kazan, people were praying, the mosque was full. There was an unofficial ban on religious missionary propaganda. But it is well known that even some party functionaries both prayed and fasted. There were problems, not without them. But what happened after the collapse of the USSR is much worse! In general, the Saudis destroyed a single Spiritual Administration of the Muslims, primarily due to the enormous financial injections. From the game of sovereignty of a spiritual nature got an ideological split. The young growth of the clergy has already appeared, which is really the bearers of the ideology of Wahhabism, Salafism. Young people sincerely believe that the ideology that was with us is unacceptable for them, we are for them - wrong, unclean, wrong, non-Muslim.
And where in Russia are the strongest foci of Wahhabism? With the exception of the North Caucasus?
If we talk about internal Russia, then in Siberia, here in Tatarstan, in the Trans-Kama region, in some districts of Bashkortostan, the Ulyanovsk region, the Volgograd region. This and the Tyumen region, Yamal, Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug. For five years I, still on the TsDUM line, was the mufti of the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District. The ethno-confessional component of the Tyumen region, Yamal, Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Area has changed a lot. Previously, at the household level, YAMAO was jokingly called “Tatar-hohlyatsky,” that is, it was mainly mastered by Tatars and Ukrainians, but now it is not so. You can draw parallels with the current situation in Kazan. From the point of view of the general Muslim brotherhood, I don’t mind our co-religionists from the countries of the former USSR come here. But now, at the demonstrations of Hizb ut-Tahrir in Kazan, if you look closely at the carriers of the banners of this organization, we will see that they are not the indigenous nationality of Tatarstan, but the Tajiks and Uzbeks, i.e. people who came to work. Historically, Kazan Tatars with Uzbeks have a psychological affinity at the gene level. Plus, historically, traditional spiritual ties with Bukhara and Samarkand, where the Tatar clergy received an Islamic education, mostly Persian-speaking population lived there, there was even a time that the Imam could not become an Imam in Kazan province without knowing the Persian language (!). Therefore, we have very strong historical and cultural ties with Uzbeks and Tajiks. It hurts me to see that people from these republics on the territory of Tatarstan, at these forbidden meetings, hold flags of Hizb ut-Tahrir.
Are the carriers of this ideology squeezed out of their native countries?
Not certainly in that way. They are simply not allowed to exist there physically. In Central Asian countries, all these extremist movements are prohibited. They are pushing the region to war.
Is it possible to say that when they are forced to leave their homeland, they come here, take root here and then begin to work with their countrymen and retransmit instability?
Yes, but this is half the trouble, they also feed them with money and other resources. Here, people from Central Asia live in their own communities, send material resources to their hidden supporters. Coming here, often, they begin to openly lead their propaganda. At home, they do not allow themselves this, because they know perfectly well that they will be punished for it.
What threatens them in Russia?
Never mind. Yes, those civil servants who read me will not be offended at me, but in this way our state unwittingly contributes to the spread of extremist ideology. I talked about this, if memory serves me, back in 2009 year at the Christmas readings in the Moscow Patriarchate. I just spoke in the section of the Synodal Department for the interaction with law enforcement agencies. It is a mistake to imprison a person, a carrier of extremist ideology, in a common colony, among criminals and others. In conclusion, they do not get rid of their ideological attitudes, but, on the contrary, recruit new followers. As a result, one Wahhabi enters the reeducation, and at the output we get ten.
How to deal with it? If we reject radical methods, such as those used by Gaddafi or Mubarak, to the point of physical destruction.
We are considered a democratic country, but if we are soft on this issue, we will get the current Egypt or the same Gaza Strip, where Hamas people showed their true guts, completely passing under the control of Wahhabi Qatar. These movements are well used to achieve their goals democratic institutions. As a result, they seize power and establish such orders that have nothing to do with any democracy.
Can the Islamists in Russia join up with the protest movement in the country and eventually push each other to take radical action?
It's unavoidable. One way or another, at some stage it will happen. “The enemy of my enemy is my friend,” as Eastern wisdom teaches. The only question is how quickly this will happen. Look, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Iraq, I was everywhere, I know the situation, everywhere spiritual power was behind the bearers of traditional Islam, just like us here. No radicalism. There he was burned with a hot iron. The same Shiites now say that Saddam Hussein was still a good president.
But under Saddam there was a Shiite genocide.
It was a purely political issue, their pro-Iranian position. In those repressions there was no religious overtones. There are many nuances here, but now in all these countries, the traditional Sunni clergy have been thrown back. The radicals came. The same is waiting for us, if the state insists on dialogue. In Dagestan, we see what this has led to. We see an attempt of the Wahhabi revenge in Tatarstan: the attempt on the mufti, the murder of his deputy. All this is just the beginning. And this young shoots will be the vanguard, those who studied there. With all due respect to Mubarak, who tried to prevent this branch of the Wahhabis - "Muslim Brotherhood" to power, corruption and nepotism defeated. The best beginnings were overthrown. The largest center of traditional Islam, Al-Azhar, was left to itself. The teachers received a beggarly salary, no one was engaged in the educational process, and the Wahhabis, the Salafis and the Muslim Brotherhood took advantage of it. They paid scholarships to students, including from Russia. They rented apartments in the center of Cairo or in convenient areas. Until now, we here in Russia think that Al-Azhar is the center of traditional Sunni Islam. At the exit, they get a crust from Al-Azhar, and as a filling, i.e. strongly politicized, determined by the “Brothers-Muslims”, or even worse - the Wahhabi, Salafi ideology.
How do you estimate how many Wahhabis, Salafis are on the territory of the Russian Federation?
It is impossible to determine any specific figure, no final data. The voiced figure of three thousand open carriers of the Wahhabi ideology in Tatarstan was met with some kind of aversion, such as it cannot be. In reality, of course, talking about absolute numbers is impossible. The census of our population does not take into account religious beliefs. But if we proceed from the fact that since the inception of a new formation of a new country, 22 has passed, then how many people have been taught abroad? I remember the 95-97 of the year, when I left just hundreds. Children aged seven to ten years were sent to Saudi. Many went through training camps. You can talk about a very large number.
At least you can voice some orders? Thousands, tens of thousands?
Much more, not millions of course, but not tens of thousands, and certainly not some thousands.
More than a hundred thousand?
Yes, I think more than a hundred ideologically-convinced, precisely those who can sit at the table and argue convincingly. This is the most dangerous when the enemy is ideologically grounded. In contrast, we, representatives of the traditional school, were not prepared for such an ideological confrontation. No one here can even say simply how many of us are there, how many, and most importantly, what quality. To be honest, the quality of the preparation is none. We have no personnel, and those who are able to argue convincingly can be counted on the fingers. Therefore, the actions of the radicals are aimed at the pinpoint destruction of people who have authority, can influence the audience, debate. The loss of such people for us is the most painful.
It turns out that the Russian ummah lived in isolation from those processes that have been going on in other Muslim countries for a long time, and with the opening of the borders all these trends came here, and we did not work out how other countries were immune, were not ready?
What is the world ummah? What is common between Ummah in Malaysia and Ummah in Tunisia? What is the generality apart from the fact that “There is no God but Allah and Muhammad, peace be upon him, his prophet and messenger?” What binds us? Completely different mentality, history, culture. All that binds us is Islam. They speak about the world ummah only from high tribunes and when it is necessary to warm up the crowd. And come on, as in Bangladesh, recently smash Buddhist temples. Or calls for the demolition of the ancient Egyptian pyramids. I think we lost nothing from the fact that they were isolated. Rather, they even won, preserved their Muslim identity and many lives.
Are there government officials who lobby for the interests of the Wahhabis?
It turns out that such people exist at all levels, and at the regional, and even at the level of a small rural settlement.
And what are the motives of such people? Financial?
Financial, but now more and more of those whose ideological motive.
Are there “hidden Wahhabis”, that is, those who publicly deny their belonging not only to Wahhabism, but also to Islam in general, while practicing Wahhabism and occupying public office?
Of course they do. Sometimes you look through the press, the Internet, and the question arises: why is there opposition to traditional Islam and lobbying of the interests of Wahhabis? If there had been no such secret and open lobbying, we would have long ago passed the law “on counteracting Wahhabism”. Not just extremism, but specifically Wahhabism, as in Dagestan. And we have the word "Wahhabism" almost ceased to be used, at the hearing of the word "Salafism", but this is essentially one coin, just different sides. Lobbyists exist, this is a natural process of introducing radicalism into society. The first phase is the seizure of the cultural and educational sphere, the second is the seizure of the sphere of spiritual governance, the third is the entry into power, the fourth is the seizure of power. All three of these stages, we have successfully passed.
Not only in Tatarstan, but throughout Russia. There is a real problem, the real scale of which we cannot even guess. At the regional level, it has long been said that the ethnoreligious composition of the country's population is changing. The composition of the population is changing, its age and at the same time its culture and beliefs are changing.
It turns out, it remains only to evict and close the border?
It can not be done. In order for this to happen, we need fundamental changes, and this is unrealistic.
What awaits us in the near future?
I even, frankly, afraid to make predictions. Forecasts are not a grateful business, but I can say for sure that one should definitely expect growth of radicalism, radicalism of various trends, ideas. In Russia, I see processes that are very difficult to find an explanation. Ideological opponents - Tabligovs, Wahhabis, “Brothers - Muslims”, Hizb ut-Tahrir and others - who mutually destroy each other’s historical homelands, are called here by the infidels, heretics, almost fraternized. For me, this is a mystery. Why are the Tabligians, who from the point of view of Wahhabis are heretics, who, from the point of view of Wahhabism, can be destroyed, are friends with them here? This is a model where “the enemy of my enemy is still my friend,” I emphasize - for now.
Can I somehow stop this process?
A fundamental revision of the relationship between the state and the Islamic community, the Russian community is necessary. The existing relationship model is outdated. The institution of Muslim spiritual administrations should be reformed, taking into account the traditions and the era in which we live. The state should understand that today the weak institution of spiritual administrations is unable to resist the strong Wahhabi-Salafi, Hizbite ideological invasion. I think the state is aware of this today. We need actions, and extraordinary, fast, original. I want to stress right away: the secular nature of the state will not suffer from this, because it is a question of the future of the state itself, of its security.
Is jihadist bow possible with protest movement?
Hypothetically, we can assume that they will try to use each other in their own interests, knowing that the radicals are ready to go for blood to achieve their goals. If they let this genie out of the bottle, they won't be able to drive it back. Therefore, I would like to warn those leaders who disagree with the policies of our state, those who disagree with the current government, against using this policy to use the “Islamists” in quotes. There is nothing in common between Islam and "Islamism", except for the external poorly camouflaged shell borrowed by the "Islamists" from real Islam. “Islamism” is the enemy of everything that we call a civilized society. I warn the opposition not only of using “Islamists” for their own purposes, but simply of all kinds of contacts, because the result will be very scary.
Do you conduct such activities, educate, fight, threaten you?
In my case, the Wahhabis issued three fatwas about the killing.
How are we? If they kill, it means that if it is God's permission, a martyr. This is war, but in war as in war: either we - them, or they - us.