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Statement by the Orthodox public on Silantyev's book

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    2005.12.07 Interfax: Statement by the Orthodox public on Silantyev s book We, Orthodox scholars, journalists, politicians and public figures, are astonished at
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 7, 2005
      2005.12.07 Interfax:

      Statement by the Orthodox public on Silantyev's book

      We, Orthodox scholars, journalists, politicians and public figures, are
      astonished at the well-organized but clearly inadequate reaction of some
      Islamic and semi-Islamic circles to Roman Silantyev's book A Modern History
      of the Islamic Community in Russia. Despite Silantyev's repeated statements
      that he has published his monograph as an independent researcher, rather
      than executive secretary of the Interreligious Council in Russia or a staff
      member of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations,
      some Muslim leaders, speaking in rude terms, have demanded explanations
      from the Russian Orthodox Church.

      We reiterate that Roman Silantyev's monograph has been written with all
      respect for both Islam and its followers. Certainly, there are descriptions
      of disagreeable pages in the history of the Russian Muslims, but all the
      facts of this kind have been already publicized in the course of public
      polemics among Muslim leaders. Despite the prevalence of negative materials
      about the life of Russian Islam in available sources, the author of A
      Modern History of the Islamic Community in Russia has put emphasis on
      precisely the positive sides of the Islamic revival by giving a detailed
      description of its milestones.

      It is not difficult to guess who stands behind the unprecedented hysterics
      shaking now the Islamic and semi-Islamic mass media. It has happened so
      that Silantyev has flayed sheep's clothing from wolves to show the true
      faces of those who wanted to seize power in Russian Islam. Now these people
      who sought to become sole rulers of the Russian umma should think whether
      they should be ashamed of their past, of betraying close relatives,
      teachers and associates, of curtseying bandits and terrorists, of insulting

      Russian Islam is seriously ill today. Almost all the Muslim mass media have
      been seized by the Wahhabis, who throw mud at moderate muftis who are now a
      minority, while the intemperate have been caught in a real epidemic of
      hatred towards the Orthodox. Let us recall how 'Supreme Mufti of the Asian
      Russia' Nafigulla Ashirov, expressed support for the barbarous destruction
      of Buddha's statues by the Talibs and threatened with 'a second Chechnya'
      if the Basic Orthodox Culture is introduced in schools, while in Chechnya
      itself the Basic Islamic Culture is taught as a compulsory discipline; how
      'Imam of Transvolga Region' Mukaddas Bibarsov, whom his own mufti father
      declared a Wahhabi, urged to meet the demands of Movsar Baraev and
      condemned the elimination of terrorist Maskhadov and took an active part in
      the propagation of the apocryphal Gospel of Barnabas; how 'politically
      correct' was Nizhni Novgorod Mufti Umar Idrisov when he accused the
      Orthodox clergy of organizing the massacre of Tartar children during the
      capture of Kazan and equated the events of 1552 with the seizure of the
      school in Beslan; how Christian apostate Polosin, not at all embarrassed by
      his high position in the Council of Muftis in Russia, published troglodytic
      anti-Christian leaflets calling to an immediate Islamization of the Russians.

      Let us recall also the calls to destroy all the 'anchor' crosses, to burn
      in crematoriums all children born in mixed marriages, to remove Christian
      symbols from the Russian National Emblem, to prohibit the construction of
      churches and chapels in Tatarstan. Let us recall the ardent apology of
      terrorism, the declaration of filicides as shahids without inverted commas
      and direct acquiescence to militants. Let us recall the slander cast by
      several muftis on His Holiness the Patriarch, Metropolitan Juvenaly of
      Krutitsy and Kolomna, Metropolitan Sergiy of Voronezh and Borisoglebsk, the
      late Archbishop Mikhey of Yaroslavl and Rostov, Archbishop Dmitry of
      Tobolsk and Tyumen, Archbishop Maximillian of Vologda and Valiky Ustyug,
      Archbishp Simon of Murmansk and Monchegorsk, Bishop Feofan of Stavropol and
      Vladikavkaz and many other hierarchs of our Church.

      Several days ago, representatives of the Jewish community in Russia
      expressed the desire to pose the question about anti-Semitic attacked made
      by several Islamic leaders. We believe the Orthodox side also has the right
      to voice similar grievances and to demand an assessment of such statements.
      We also call upon the ruling bishops of the dioceses of Nizhni Novgorod,
      Saratov, Astrakhan, Cheboksary and Petrozavodsk to make a critical
      assessment of the assurances of friendship and respect made by local muftis
      and to take into account the fact that they have made diametrically
      opposite statements in other audiences.

      In conclusion we would like to emphasize that the above-mentioned facts
      should not make Orthodox people Islamophobic. Nobody should be afraid of
      Muslims. Those Muslims who call to peaceful coexistence among religions
      have respect for Christianity and who do not spare their lives to prevent
      the spread of extremism deserve the most profound respect. But those who
      dream of building a 'world caliphate' on Orthodox bones are in fact adepts
      of wicked and marginal sects which cannot raise any feelings except those
      of abhorrence. Do not believe the propagandist myths about 'the inevitable
      Islamization of Russia' as millions of ethnic Muslims have embraced the
      Holy Baptism, while 'Russian Muslims' cannot make up for their tiny number
      even by the savage grudge against whose who think differently. Do not
      forget that only 5% of the citizens in Russia claim to be Muslims, and this
      figure has remained unchanged throughout the last years; that true Orthodox
      families have fewer children than Muslim ones and, most importantly, that
      the strong Orthodox community and its Church are the main guarantees of
      interreligious peace in our country.

      Union of Orthodox Citizens
      Radonezh Orthodox Society and others
      December 6, 2005
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