About his vision on the federal list of extremist literature problem, Wahhabism on the North Caucasus and prospects of interreligious dialogue within the new Russian Patriarch head of the Coordinating Center of the Muslims of the North Caucasus Ismail Berdiyev spoke with Anton Levakhov, the correspondent of Interfax-Religion.
- What's your position on the creation of the federal list of extremist literature?
- We have discussed this problem in our Coordinating Center of the Muslims of the North Caucasus and we have charged to Muslim Spiritual Board of Dagestan to check all the books on presence of Wahhabism sayings. All the books that are somewhere near it were included to the list of Wahhabism literature by the Russian government. We decided to create All-Russian Advisory Council which will be made by religious figures and theologians. They will be the ones who will estimate the books.
- What are the main tasks that the Advisory Council is going to put in front of itself?
- The main task of the council is to check all the Muslim books that people own and they must tell if a book of any publishing house, by any author must be destroyed as extremist and another book can be useless because it is frankly illiterate. By the way, nearly all the Wahabi literature divides into extremist and illiterate. Though one doesn't exclude another. And if authoritative people, theologians and scientists will say about it people will think weather to read this or that book.
- How do you think are there any books that must be band on federal level?
- Of course. Especially we have, I mean the post-Soviet era. People who lived in that Soviet system know nothing about religion. These people are in "spiritual vacuum". When they are offered different kinds of books they read them and they have an impression that stated there represents the facts. Books that already exist and kindle international enmity must be not banned but rather collected and burnt. Nowadays we live in such society where every person can write anything he likes. He doesn't ask anybody whether it will be right or wrong, that's the problem.
- Unfortunately recently more and more news about murders of imams are coming. Who kills and what for?
- Imams are killed by those who don't like the word imam and what does imam says. Those who live counter with imam's words are the ones who kill them. We call them the Wahabi. Although they know nothing about Islam. First they read a booklet then they go to a mosque and start a mob law. They think that if a Imam speaks somehow not how it seems to them they can kill him or take him away. Now it is more rare. Last incidents - murders of imams in Kislovodsk, Karachayevsk, Dagestan. These murders are just from that series I told you about. The main objective of murder of imams is, certainly, religious hostility. For example if we consider a case when a mufti was blown up in Dagestan... He was one of the most competent persons, I knew him, he was my friend. When he spoke people listened, they believed him. And that is the reason why he was blown up, so that he couldn't interfere, so that he couldn't direct people. Why do you think people believed him? Because people had religious vacuum in there souls. We need to fill this vacuum with the valid knowledge as fast as possible. At the heart of all monotheistic religions - Christianity, Islam - there are the same doctrines. However sectarians who have appeared in Russia after disorder of the Soviet Union deceive people who know nothing about religion. If a Christian knowing his religion, was approached, for example, by a Baptist who started to preach his outlook, and this Christian would s follow him on his belief, for God's sake. But if any sectarian approaches a person who understands nothing in religion, of course, he will follow the sectarian. After all words of sectarians have something that can interest. But it's a deceit! This is what can't be allowed.
- How can we counteract murder of religious figures?
- People need an explanation of religion. I do not say that it's necessary to make all children pray. They will start praying when they realize religion. But they are obliged to know about religion - about Islam, about Christianity. If a person knows about religion, no matter whoever has approached him, it will not misdirect him.
- What do you expect from the new Moscow Patriarch?
- I have known His Holiness for a long time. From the times when he was a Metropolitan we gathered, sat at one table. During Alexy II's Patriarchate Metropolitan Kirill was on charge of many of the most important parts of church life playing a pivotal role in reunion of Russian Church and in dialogue with Catholics. I hope that his success will be even more in future. I like the Patriarch Kirill very much.
Therefore I ask the Lord to give the force to Patriarch Kirill to continue the service. It seems to me that Alexy's course will be continued further. The merit of two Patriarchs - Alexy II and Kirill - in the peace on Caucasus between religions and the peoples is especially great. By the way, six years ago with the efforts of Metropolitan Kirill his pupil Bishop Feofan had been directed to the North Caucasus and he has successfully realized many peace-making ideas of the present Patriarch, under his management he could strengthen the interreligious peace on Caucasus.