06 December 2005, 11:04
Orthodox public demands assessment be given to anti-Christian attacks by some Moslem leaders
Moscow, December 6, Interfax - Representatives of leading Orthodox public organizations and mass media have come out in support of Roman Silantyev, executive secretary of the Interreligious Council in Russia and author of the book entitled A Modern History of the Islamic Community in Russia, which has been strongly criticized lately by some Muslim leaders in the country.
'We, Orthodox scholars, journalists, politicians and public figures, are astonished at the well-organized but clearly inadequate reaction of some Islamic and semi-Islamic circles to the book by Roman Silantyev', states an open appeal of the Orthodox public, circulated on Monday in Moscow.
The authors of the document reiterate that the monograph is written with all respect for both Islam and its followers. 'Despite the prevalence of negative materials about the life of Russian Islam in available sources, the author of A Modern History of the Islamic Community in Russia has put emphasis on precisely the positive sides of the Islamic revival by giving a detailed description of its milestones', the appeal reads.
The authors of the appeal believe that negative responses to the book have been caused by the fact that the author of the monograph 'has flayed sheep's clothing from wolves to show the true faces of those who wanted to seize power in Russian Islam'.
At the same time, the representatives of the Orthodox public call upon Muslims to pay attention to their own statements about the Russian Church and to put an end to 'the epidemic of hatred towards the Orthodox'.
'Let us recall how 'Supreme Mufti of the Asian Russia' Nafigulla Ashirov expressed support for the barbarous destruction of Buddha's statues by the Talibs and threatened with 'a second Chechnya' if the Basic Orthodox Culture is introduced in schools, while in Chechnya itself the Basic Islamic Culture is taught as a compulsory discipline', the appeal states.
The authors also remind 'how 'Imam of Transvolga Region' Mukaddas Bibarsov, whom his own mufti father declared a Wahhabi, urged to meet the demands of Movsar Baraev and condemned the elimination of terrorist Maskhadov and took an active part in the propagation of the apocryphal Gospel of Barnabas'.
They have also recalled the reproaches heaped by Nizhni Novgorod Mufti Umak Idrisov who accused the Orthodox clergy of organizing the massacre of Tartar children during the capture of Kazan by Ivan the Terrible and equated the events of 1552 with the seizure of the school in Belsan. Among the accusations is also a reference to the fact that former Orthodox priest Vyacheslav Polosin, who converted to Islam and now works on the staff of the Council of Mufties, 'published troglodytic anti-Christian leaflets and called to the immediate Islamization of the Russians'.
'Let us recall also the calls to destroy all the 'anchor' crosses, to burn in crematoriums all children born in mixed marriages, to remove Christian symbols from the Russian National Emblem, to prohibit the construction of churches and chapels in Tatarstan. Let us recall the ardent apology of terrorism, the declaration of filicides as shahids without inverted commas and direct acquiescence to militants', the authors of the appeal write, citing also other examples of offensive attitude of Islamic leaders to the Orthodox including 'slander cast by several muftis on His Holiness the Patriarch'.
'Several days ago, representatives of the Jewish community in Russia expressed the desire to pose the question about anti-Semitic attacked made by several Islamic leaders. We believe the Orthodox side also has the right to voice similar grievances and to demand an assessment of such statements', write the authors of the open appeal.
In conclusion they underline that all the above-mentioned facts should not make Orthodox people Islamophobic, stating, 'Nobody should be afraid of Muslims. Those Muslims who call to peaceful coexistence among religions have respect for Christianity and who do not spare their lives to prevent the spread of extremism deserve the most profound respect. But those who dream of building a 'world caliphate' on Orthodox bones are in fact adepts of wicked and marginal sects which cannot raise any feelings except those of abhorrence'.
See the full text of the appeal under the Documents heading.