13 August 2012, 16:22
All-Russian Muslim Board opposes leniency for Pussy Riot
Moscow, August 13, Interfax - Mukhammedgali Khuzin, the head of the executive committee of the All-Russian Muslim Board, has spoken against leniency for the members of the feminist punk group Pussy Riot, who are awaiting sentencing this week.
"Our religion does not allow lenient or good treatment of people who deliberately desecrate holy places," Khuzin told Interfax-Religion on Monday.
Last week, the prosecutor asked Moscow's Khamovnichesky Court to sentence the Pussy Riot activists, who are charged with hooliganism, to three years in prison. Soon after that, Nail Mustafin, imam of the Vologda mosque Al-Juma, which reports to the Russian Council of Muftis, told reporters the women would have been released if they had conducted a similar "punk prayer" in a mosque. The imam cited Prophet Muhammad's ordinance to support his contention.
"A man once walked into a mosque and, if you excuse my saying so, urinated in the mosque. Of course, he was seized and taken to the prophet so he could decide what to do with the man. The prophet answered immediately and firmly that the man should be released and the desecrated place should be rinsed with water. That's the ordinance given by our prophet, and therefore it's the opinion of all good Muslims. We all believe that these girls should walk free," Mustafin said.
The Council of Muftis later disassociated itself from Mustafin's words.
Khuzin, in turn, said Mustafin's position on the Pussy Riot case is surprising and contracts the stance of the Russian Muslim community and Islam.
Speaking about the story with the urination in a mosque at the time of Prophet Muhammad, the mufti said the man was then forgiven because he did not know what he was doing. "I don't recommend that anyone do such a thing in modern mosques. Ten years ago, two men went into the Omsk mosque for that purpose and they were neither understood nor forgiven," Khuzin said.
There should be no leniency for the Pussy Riot activists, Khuzin said.
"If these women had walked into our mosques, we would have given them to our old women for a set of educational measures and them would have given them over to the law enforcement agencies and would have seen to it that an investigation was conducted," Khuzin said.