Staunton, October 31 – Roman Silantyev, a Russian specialist on Islam frequently cited by Western writers but notorious among Russian Muslims for his attacks on Islam, says that Mufti Nafiigulla Ashirov, by coming out in support of the victim of dedovshchinawho killed eight of his persecutors, is creating “a Columbine cult” (golosislama.com/news.php?id=37472).
By suggesting that the Muslim community should get behind the soldier in question only because he is a Muslim, the specialist says, the mufti risks provoking Orthodox Christians to do the same and to conclude that any attack by a Muslim on an ethnic Russian is that of the Islamic State. Such things must not be allowed (ng.ru/faith/2019-10-31/100_mufty3110.html).
Even more mainstream commentators, like Andrey Melnikov, who edits NG-Religii, entitles his article about Ashirov’s statements, “The Mufti has Spoken on Behalf of the Soldier-Murderer,” and quotes Silantyev. But Melnikov at least makes clear exactly what the mufti said and why.
The head of the Muslim Spiritual Directorate (MSD) of Asiatic Russia simply appealed to Muslims to collect money to help pay for a lawyer for Ramil Shamsutdin and invited them to visit Shamsutdin’s parents in the Tyumen oblast village where they live in order to show “solidarity.”
Ashirov is often attacked in the Russian media for his outspokenness. But in this case, it appears that any attacks like those of Silantyev are uncalled for. The Siberian mufti simply behaved as the leader of a religious organization is supposed to when one of its members is in trouble. That, however, is too much for some Russians.