Russian muftis take on ‘pseudo-religious extremism’

By WND Staff

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Responding to the increasing presence of what is considered extremist Islamic literature surfacing in book stores across Russia, Muslim leaders are urging the government to crack down on the sale of nearly 100 books written by Muslim authors – or be prepared for terrorism, reports Pravda online.

An assembly of the Central Religious Muslim Department of Russia banned 95 books in February, according to Mufti Khazrat of the Yekaterinburg mosque.

The list was circulated between all religious departments and mosques in the Sverdlovsk region and across Russia. Still, several banned books were discovered in a shop near a local mosque in the city of Krasnoufimsk during a raid. Other raids have proven the books are still in circulation.

According to Khazrat, the “extremist books” are delivered to the Sverdlovsk region by Arab emissaries and Turkish missionaries. The mufti warns that if the government doesn’t crack down on these books, the region may produce its own terrorists in several years.

The coordinating council of the North Caucasus muftis, led by Ingushetia Mufti Muhammad Albogachiyev, recently wrote to Russian President Vladimir Putin offering to provide the government with “reliable information about Islam.”

“Otherwise, the leadership, military structures and society will have to spend much more on security than is currently spent for the prevention of pseudo-religious extremism,” he wrote.

Combating religious extremism was the subject of a round-table discussion held last week by the Russian Federation government, which focused on the need for improved cooperation between government and religious organizations.

“Religious extremism is the prime danger, not only for our country, but for the entire international community,” said Vladimir Zorin, the federation’s minister for national affairs. “We can resist this evil only if we join our forces together. A single country is unable to cope with this problem alone.”

“Whether it be Islam or something else … this extremism has political and social roots. It is explained by social contradictions in the society and with political instability,” Alexander Kazimov of the Language Institute of the Mary-El republic told conference attendees.

Kazimov and others blamed the religious extremism on lax government. Kazimov pointed out that federal law bans funding religious organizations from abroad, but the law is neither observed nor enforced.

“This is the reason why there are so many various religious groups and models appearing. The state must put an end to it,” he said.