Ufa/Moscow, April 25, Interfax - The spiritual leaders of Muslims have failed to back the proposal made by lawyer Dagir Khasavov to create sharia courts in Russia.
"According to the Constitution, religion is separated from the state in Russia. Our country has its own judicial system and Muslims use it as equal citizens of Russia," Talgat Tajuddin, the head of the Central Spiritual Muslim Board, told Interfax-Religion on Wednesday.
Tajuddin said muftis already participate in the resolution of disputes between people and believers contact spiritual directorates if they have questions about religion, family, or inheritance issues, because the sharia rules handle these legal issues somewhat differently from secular regulations.
"Unlike 30-40 years ago," Muslims can freely practice their religion in Russia today, Tajuddin said.
Albir Krganov, the head of the Moscow Muslim Board, said the presence of sharia courts is appropriate in religious countries such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar.
"Russia is a secular state and our theologian ancestors found a way to unite the religious and secular legal systems. For example, the Central Spiritual Muslim Board has had the institution of qadis, who answer people's questions about faith, for more than a century," he said.
The mufti said that there is no need to invent anything new and this form is the most acceptable to everyone. For example, even before beginning divorce proceedings in a secular court Muslims can go to qadis for spiritual advice, which sometimes helps save families, he said.
Krganov also reiterated that many Russians have very negative feelings about sharia courts. "We all remember when people were publicly executed in the Caucasus in the name of religion, despite the fact that they had absolutely no right to do that," he said.