Grozny, November 12, Interfax - Chechnya's head of administration, Ramzan Kadyrov, has attacked Egyptian Islamic theologian Yusuf al-Qaradawi for calling Russia an "enemy of Islam" and said Qaradawi's words represent an attack on the millions of Russian Muslims.
"Primarily, they [Qaradawi's statements] are directed against the Muslims of Russia, who are citizens of this country, were born here and live here, and who care about their country," Kadyrov said in a statement released by his office.
86-year-old Qaradawi is seen as one of the spiritual leaders of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood. A 2008 online poll run by Foreign Policy magazine put him at number three among the world's top 20 public intellectuals.
"The Muslims of Russia hope that Qaradawi will once again think about his statement, make a critical assessment of it, and realize the erroneous and destructive character of such statements. And - which particularly important - ask himself who would benefit from representing the Islamic world and Russia as standing in contrast to each other. We call on him to do so," Kadyrov said.
"Qaradawi's statements had given rise to amazement among the Muslims of Russia," the Chechen leader said.
"There live about 30 million Muslims in our country. Hundreds of mosques are built for them yearly. Thousands of believers perform the hajj. The Constitution guarantees freedom of worship," he said.
He cited Russian President Vladimir Putin as announcing that "Russia has always been and remains the best partner for Islamic states."
"This is extremely important for Russian Muslims, who, for many decades, were deprived of the possibility to pray in mosques, study the Koran, and visit holy sites in Mecca and Medina. From this perspective, Qaradawi's public appeals sound offensive, illogical," Kadyrov said.
"It is not Russia that is supplying weapons and money for the thousands of mercenaries from all over the world who have flooded Syria and are committing daily terrorist attacks, in which the blood of women, old people and children is shed," he said.
"If Qaradawi tries to manipulate public opinion in the Islamic world by citing relations between Syria and Russia, he should know that our country has international obligations to that country, which has for many years been its ally. If any weapons do find their way into Syria, it is through sales, something that any state would do," Kadyrov said.
"In our view, Qaradawi, as a scholar, would be well-advised to take up educational activities and not dabble in politics, leaving it to professionals," he said.
On October 31, the All-Russian Muslim Board urged Russia's Muslims to ignore Qaradawi.
"The Muslims of Russia, who are part of the world Ummah, are being sent an obvious signal to stand up against the foreign policy course of their country. In effect, it is an undisguised appeal for disobedience and for the violation of the laws of their country," the council said in a statement made available to the Interfax-Religion.