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Russian Muslims’ social doctrine to bring up patriots, protect believers from radicalism

May 28, 2015, 18:13 UTC+3 Alexandrova Lyudmila
© Mikhail Metzel/TASS

MOSCOW, May 28. /TASS/. Bringing up Muslims as Russia’s patriots and keeping them away from radical Muslim groups are one of the main aims of the Social Doctrine of Russian Muslims, as follows from its draft presented by the Council of Russia’s Muftis at a round table meeting on Thursday. The doctrine is useful in principle, but it remains to be seen how to make it available to every single believer and translate into life.

The doctrine will take effect when signed by the country’s three main Muslim organizations: the Council of Muftis (Moscow), the Central Muslim board of Russia (Ufa) and the Coordinating Centre of the North Caucasus (Karachai-Cherkessia). The signing ceremony is due in June. The wording is a product of joint efforts by Muslim organizations, theologians and secular experts.

The doctrine is based on the Quran and every single recommendation regarding various aspects of Muslims’ life in a secular society relies on its text. The social doctrine encompasses practically all possible spheres of life: from nature conservation and sports to the attitude to jihad and the state as an institution.

Protecting the interests of the state and taking care of its security are one of the basic duties of each devout Muslim, the draft says. The first deputy chairman of the Council of Muftis, Rushan Abbyasov, believes that the social doctrine is in fact a road map for believers and the state to follow in their mutual relations. It must help reduce the number of young radicals, who ever more often leave home to join armed gangs "in the woods" or go to fight for the Islamic State.

Back last February the director of Russia’s federal security service FSB, Aleksandr Bortnikov, said that according to his sources an estimated 1,700 Russian citizens were fighting for the Islamic State.

A special reservation is made that the Muslim has the right to protest only in compliance with the existing laws.

As far as military jihad is concerned, the Muslim is allowed to participate in it only on orders from the "legal ruler."

"This document is very important and useful at least for identifying the place of Islam in modern Russian society and the way the Muslim elite sees its place in Russian society and in the world," senior lecturer at the Higher School of Economics, Leonid Syukiyaynen, who participated in the discussion, has told TASS. "It is hard to expect that each single Muslim will read the doctrine from beginning to end, but it is surely a benchmark for religious organizations, which are to explain its meaning to the parishioners and Muslim intellectuals."

Syukiyaynen said a very large section of the document was devoted to such issues as terrorism and extremism. "It expresses a distinct attitude to the radical manifestations that harm Islam and misinterpret Islamic postulates and explains in detail how patriotism is combined with religious ideals.

"We have many Muslim organizations, but they are very fragmented. It is essential to ensure the doctrine begins to be regarded as a guide to be followed by a majority of Muslims, and not remains just a fine declaration of intent," the daily Kommersant quotes the chairman of the State Duma’s committee for the affairs of religious organizations, Yaroslav Nilov, as saying.

The doctrine may become effective only if proper mechanisms for implementing its ideas are in place, the deputy chief of the state-religion relations chair at the presidential academy RANEPA, Veronika Kravchuk, has told TASS.

"If too few people know about it, it will remain on paper. Religious organizations must conduct the struggle against extremism by promoting traditional Islam and arrange their relations with the congregation in close cooperation with the bodies of power whose task is to fight with terrorism."

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