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Rantings of a Sandmonkey

Be forewarned: The writer of this blog is an extremely cynical, snarky, pro-US, secular, libertarian, disgruntled sandmonkey. If this is your cup of tea, please enjoy your stay here. If not, please sod off

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

The Russian Mufti

The Russian government wants to have a Super Mufti, apparently in order to help combate terrorism. Paul Goble at the METimes has an excellent analysis of this interesting situation: Russian presidential advisor Aslanbek Aslanbekhov has called for the election of a single supreme mufti early next year to oversee all the Muslim communities of the Russian Federation, someone that he said could assist the government in its struggle against terrorism and fundamentalist Islam. Oh yes, cause you know, having a Mufti makes all the difference. Ever since we had one in Egypt, the terrorist attacks disappeared. No wait, they didn't! Aslanbekhov's proposal was greeted coolly by the Russian Federation's Muslim leaders, most of whom view it as a direct threat to their power and influence and despite the fact that the introduction of a single muftiate will reduce rather than strengthen the Russian government's control over Islam, Moscow seems virtually certain to go ahead. It makes sense that the muslim leaders didn't really like the idea: No one likes to lose their power or have someone whose opinion officially can trump their own. Not to mention, if this is to combat terrorism or to adminster the unsavory elements, then they are barking at the wrong tree. The radicals would never listen to a government appointed figurehead; look at our local mufti. The man really gets no respect by, well, anybody. It's not like if the mufti issues a fatwa in egypt all the muslim egyptians would run and do it, even the religious ones. Why would you when you know that he is a political figure whose views might be used by the government to press its own agenda? In remarks reported by Kommersant that many in the Kremlin are sure to read as a stinging criticism, Gainutdin said that "the creation a single structure and of one chief representative" for the Muslims of Russia was "convenient" for the government that would thus find it "simpler and easier to administer the Muslims". And in views that were echoed by other Muslim leaders at the meeting, Gainutdin suggested that the government's security agencies were behind Aslanbekhov's proposal because most of them are inclined to see "all Muslims" as potential terrorists and thus want to place them under tighter control That seems to be the reason behind that plan: more government control over a religious community. Maybe next they will require that all muslims be registerd with that structure for "security purposes". No wonder the russians lost the cold war, they are incredibly stupid if they think something like that would ever be accepted by their muslim population. Not to mention, maybe it's a good thing that there is not a one single muslim religious authority. But at the same time, the existence of these competing hierarchies and their relative lack of authority has had a positive side: It has helped to create the possibility for greater freedom of religious belief and practice among the Muslims of the Russian Federation than might otherwise have been the case. Bingo, it gives people freedom to pick and chose, not to mention walk away from radical views. The russians are assuming that the supreme mufti would be on their side: what if he wasn't? What if he declares a Fatwa against them? What if he becomes a wahabbi and makes the lives of the muslims- not to mention the inifdels- there hell? Have they really thought this through? Cause it doesn't seem like they did! Hmmm.........


At 5/03/2005 07:51:00 PM, Blogger Rancher said...

The russians are assuming that the supreme mufti would be on their side: what if he wasn't?

He would disappear.


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