Exclusive Interview: Russian Mufti Talks about War Propaganda to Islamophobia in Russia

MINA News Agency had the opportunity to conduct an exclusive interview with the Chairman of the Russian Muslim Spiritual Council (Mufti of Russia), Sheikh Albir Krganov on Friday in Jakarta, on the sidelines of his visit to Indonesia.

Discussed religious aspects and issues such as the role of the mufti in Russia, the visit of President Ir. Soekarno, the growth and condition of the Russian Muslims under the leadership of President Putin, Islamophobia, the war between Russia and Ukraine, the Palestinian issue and others, especially increasing cooperation between Indonesian and Russian Muslims.

On that occasion, Sheikh Albir Krganov recalled the close relationship between Indonesia and Russia that had lasted for a long time, even since Russia was still part of the Soviet Union.

At that time, the first President of Indonesia, Ir. Soekarno had visited the Soviet Union. At that time Bung Karno prayed at the Saint Petersburg Mosque, one of the largest and most beautiful Muslim houses of worship in Russia.

According to Albir Krganov, this incident made Indonesia’s relations with Russia very close. In fact, Russian Muslims have great respect for Indonesia. They always laud the Indonesian people, and regard them as brothers.

Here’s an excerpt from the interview:

MINA: What are the roles and duties of a Mufti in Russia? Are you dealing with Islam or all religions?

In Russia there are laws that protect all religious citizens, including Islam. Protection of religion and its adherents is very well preserved in all regions of Russia. In addition, relations between religious communities in Russia are very good. Russia has 95 provinces. Each province has the autonomy to regulate its territory, including the formation of a Muftiyat (Spiritual Council).

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The existence of the Muftiyat in Russia is very sacred, because it is a policy mechanism that is decided through shura between Muftiyat in all provinces. Mufti in Russia has important decisions and policy decisions at the Russian national level.

At the executive level of the President, the Mufti represents the existence of Muslims along with other religious figures such as Christians and. All have the opportunity to provide input and make requests to President Putin.

MINA: What is the agenda of the Mufti and the delegation in the visit to Indonesia?

This is our first visit to Indonesia. We want to learn about the relationship between Indonesian Muslims and the state, Islamic organizations and the state. Moreover, the Prophet Muhammad gave teachings to always stay in touch with the largest Muslims wherever they are, and currently the Muslims in Indonesia are the largest in the world.

We are impressed that in Indonesia the relationship between religion and the state is quite harmonious, this can be our provision in Russia.

We also hope that this visit to Indonesia can strengthen relations between the two countries also increasing cooperation, between countries, parliaments, the community as well as Muslims, both Russia and Indonesia. This includes cooperation between the ulama assemblies, especially regarding the Fatwa Commission.

MINA: How is the life of Islam and the Muslim community in carrying out their worship (including Hajj) in the midst of the war between Russia and Ukraine?

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The implementation of the pilgrimage for Muslims in Russia has no problems in this war situation. As for other Muslims, we have received requests from Islamic leaders and figures from Eastern Ukraine namely Luhansk and Donbas about their wish to join other Muslims in Russia.

The Donbas region has been a hot area for eight years where the Ukrainian government has killed about 14 thousand Donbas citizens and this is not exposed in the world.

Reporting on the situation in Donbas has in fact been manipulated with misinformation carried out by parties against Russia.

The innformation sabotage to give rise to religious and social conflicts is increasingly being intensified to pit Russian civilians against each other so that they can be divided against the Russian government.

They tried to implement a strategy of division and rivalry in Russia which had previously been successful in Middle Eastern countries. How Russia is portrayed as a dictator who crushes and torments his own citizens.

Russia is the target of destruction after countries in the Middle East were destroyed.

Muslims must understand and understand the play of the game created by their enemies with long-term goals.

MINA: How does the Russian government prevent and anticipate Islamophobia which is currently happening in several regions of the world?

Although Muslims in Russia are not the majority of the population, it can be said that Islamophobia is unlikely to arise in Russia, because this is strictly prohibited by law. Russia has laws dealing with religious matters in the thousands. In Russia there is also a ban on insulting religious scriptures.

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For more, see our official website, where every year we make a report on the rights of Muslims being fulfilled in Russia.

Before I arrived in Indonesia, I received a report that about six hectares of land had been handed over to us for our management and half of it was allocated for Muslims.

MINA: In the era of President Putin so many mosques were inaugurated, is it because the spread and development of Islam is increasing in Russia?

Yes, it can be said that in the era of President Putin, many mosques and schools were established for Muslims. Currently, the population of Russian Muslims is around 20 million, there are 8,000 mosques, 150 Islamic boarding schools and Islamic secondary education and 20 Islamic universities and in every mosque built a school for children. So that the structure of Islamic education in Russia is already connected between the lowest to the highest Islamic education.

MINA: How does the Mufti view the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict?

As citizens we call for the establishment of two states for Palestine and Israel where both can live in peace side by side.

We regret the aggressive actions of the Israeli forces who carried out disturbances in the Al-Quds compound, especially during the month of Ramadan. We call for no violence to occur in the area, especially if civilians are killed. (T/RE1)

Miraj News Agency (MINA)