20 December 2010, 10:29
Jewish religious leader accuses top mufti of besmirching Russia's "native population"
Moscow, December 20, Interfax - The head of a Russian Jewish association accused one of Russia's top Muslim clerics of making offensive statements about Russia's "native population."
"The negative statements by mufti [Ravil] Gainutdin about the native population of Russia, which is forever drinking, and 'hard-working migrants' are, of course, unfair. We resolutely reject this. All nations have different kinds of people in them but one must by no means make any generalizations," rabbi Zinovy Kogan, chairman of the Congress of Jewish Religious Organizations and Communities in Russia, told reporters.
"Today secular and religious leaders must be extremely careful in their formulations if they may damage ethnic peace in light of the latest events on Manezhnaya Square," Kogan said in reference to a violent riot on the square, which lies next to the Kremlin, on December 11.
"In the Interreligious Council of Russia and at bilateral level, we have very good, productive relations with the Muslims," he said.
On Thursday head of the Russian Council of Muftis Ravil Gainutdin argued at an Interreligious Council meeting that it is essential for Russia to have migrants, most of whom come from other parts of the former Soviet Union, mainly Central Asia, Azerbaijan and Armenia, and are often targeted in racist attacks.
"Today Russian villages are falling apart or disappearing. One must not blame the migrants - they are in effect our slaves, they come here to work for us. We must work ourselves and create wealth for our country," Gainutdin said.
"For 20 years we have raised a generation that doesn't like to work but likes to watch porno, drink alcohol, take drugs, hang out in clubs - none of them will go out into the field to sow or to harvest," he said.
"The nationalists who are insisting that all migrants, all those who are 'not our own people,' be driven out of Russia have started the job of ruining the Russian Federation," Gainutdin said.