Skip to comments.Eye on Eurasia: Islamophobia rising
Posted on 12/10/2004 11:36:45 PM PST by Destro
Eye on Eurasia: Islamophobia rising
UPI - Wednesday, December 08, 2004
Date: Wednesday, December 08, 2004 3:01:58 PM EST By PAUL GOBLE
TARTU, Estonia, Dec. 8 (UPI) -- Efforts by Russian Muslims to counter the rising tide of anti-Muslim items in the Russian media are often so unprofessional, emotional and grotesque they increase anti-Muslim sentiment in Russia and abroad, says a leading Moscow specialist on Islam.
Roman Silantyev, who serves as secretary of the Inter-religious Council of Russia and also as the chief specialist on Islam in the Patriarchate's External Relations Department, makes precisely that argument in the current issue of the Russian Orthodox Church's Tserkovniy vestnik.
Silantyev notes Islamophobia is increasing in Russia -- a view shared by most participants in a roundtable organized by the editors of NG-Religii in its Dec. 1 issue. And that makes countering this form of bigotry -- and doing so successfully -- all the more important.
In his article "Several Thoughts About Islamophobia," Silantyev notes there are many responsible defenders of Islam in Russia both among the country's Muslim leadership and in the media. But at the same time, he suggests the fight against Islamophobia in Russia is all too often dominated by "doubtful." people.
Sometimes these "defenders of Islam" expect non-Muslims to accept that "Islam is a religion of peace because it is peaceful," a circular argument he suggests is just about as impressive to non-Muslim Russians as were Soviet-era claims the teachings of Karl Marx "are all-powerful because they are true."
On other occasions, he says, the self-styled defenders of the faith engage in nasty personal attacks such as suggesting one or another writer should be examined by a psychiatrist or should be ostracized because of positive attitudes toward Israel. Or they make irresponsible claims about the size of the Muslim community in Russia or the number of ethnic Russians who have supposedly converted to Islam.
Silantyev is especially critical of Russia's largest Islamic information Web site, Islam.ru. He writes the editors of this portal have managed "at one and the same time" to launch suits against Izvestiya for xenophobia and to post often vicious attacks on Jews and Orthodox Christians.
Moreover, Silantyev notes, this site seems to spend much of its time attacking leaders of the Russian Muslim community such as Ravil Gainutdin and Talgat Tadzhuddin, the head of the Union of Muslims of Russia -- actions that only encourage hostility toward Muslims by non-Muslims.
What those who want to fight effectively against Islamophobia must do, Silantyev maintains, is "to create a positive image of Islam in the eyes of Russian society by stressing historical examples of the peaceful coexistence of Muslims and Christians, their joint opposition to the godless power in the past, and their common struggle against non-traditional religions and new religious movements in the future."
But none of that will matter, Silantyev concludes, unless Muslim scholars and Muslim commentators provide a satisfactory answer to "the principled question: why do the overwhelming majority of terrorist groups now acting in the world associate themselves with Islam and why does not a single terrorist organization act in the name of Orthodox Christianity?"
Not surprisingly, Silantyev's ideas have been attacked by those he criticizes, a development not unexpected but one that may receive greater attention than would otherwise be the case because of the opening in New York of a U.N. seminar devoted to the question of how best to counter Islamophobia and promote tolerance.
The response of the editors of Islam.ru to Silantyev's article was immediate and -- at least from the point of view of Silantyev -- compelling evidence of some of the problems he points to.
In often extremely sharp and personal terms, Islam.ru's Abdulla Khasinov argues Silantyev is illiterate on Islamic questions, his statements about Islam.ru are both ignorant and unprofessional, and he has rendered himself unfit to serve as secretary of the Inter-religious Council of Russia.
Indeed, Khasinov concludes the only thing that Silantyev could possibly be fit to serve the members of that Council is tea "because for that he would only need to smile."
Many Russian Orthodox clergy and laity will read Silantyev's article, but few will see Khasinov's response. By Khasinov's own admission, Islam.ru has only some 8,000 subscribers, and beyond any doubt most of them are Muslims who already agree with the site's point of view.
That imbalance in access to the mainstream media, the Internet's tendency in many cases to reinforce the views of surfers rather than promote dialogue among them, and the equally nasty comments of some of those who attack Islam all help to explain some of Khasinov's anger.
But Silantyev is surely right that getting angry won't solve anything and that those who do want to combat the evil of Islamophobia will never be able to do so until and unless they overcome these limitations and answer the challenge he has posed.
(Paul Goble teaches at the EuroCollege of the University of Tartu in Estonia.)
-- Copyright 2004 by United Press International. All rights reserved.
Sounds like what the Muslims are doing in America. I know that CAIR ain't exactly winning minds and hearts with its "Islam will dominate America" crap.
Amazing how a few airplane, theaters, and school attacks tend to cloud a county's judgment. /sarcasm
I wonder to what extent the Russian public buys the idea that
these attacks were due to Chechin issues as opposed to Muslim terrorism.
Time to revisit the SIKH HISTORY and THE HISTORY OF CRUSADERS. That's the only way EUROPEANS can defeat ISLAMOFACISTS.
if things continue on their current path then I have no doubt that at some point Christian militias will form in response to Islamic terror in numerous places just as they have in the far east
It is interesting that Islamists have chosen the vernacular and tactics of the left-wing homo-advocates in labeling their opponents. If they are hoping for the same chilling effect on speech that the lefties have achieved, they may be disappointed.
Can we please stop with this 'Islamophobia' nonsense!!! There is no such thing. Most of us never had an opinion one way or another regarding Islam until the increasing momentum of their terrorism resulted in 9/11. Since then, with their every word and every action, outspoken Muslims seem to do everything in their power to increase antagonism against them, then turn about and whine when faced with the natual and rational antipathy their actions inspire. Boo-hoo-hoo and so forth...
This sick and demented religion needs to do a bit of inward looking.
I'm not 'afraid' of Muslims. I'm sure many of them are decent people just trying to get by, really not that interested in killing infidels.
But I do believe that regardless of the decent Muslims in the midst of Islam, the religion is a blight on the face of the earth. It has been the cause of more death, misery and destruction than all the fascists and communists that ever killed a Jew or a dissident.
If Europe finds itself swamped by a tide of illegal Muslim immigration, here's hoping they destroy all their nukes if the Muslims should ever win an election in France or any other nuclear nation. Because once a European nuclear power goes Muslim, this world will officially go on red alert.
In fact, I don't know what to believe. I'd like to believe what you say, but I look at it this way: If the Republican Party were committing acts like Muslims do in the name of Islam, I would have a very tough time staying a Republican - or if I did, I would very publicly protest the hijacking of my party.
In Holland the Anglos are still waiting for the Muslims to protest the killing of Theo Van Gogh. Here, I'm still waiting for that first Muslim 9/11 protest against terrorists flying planes into buildings, in the name of Islam.
While the rank and file Muslims are, as you say, generally quiet people trying to make a living, it's very difficult for me to trust them in the long run. Of the few that I know, just mention Israel and their whole personality changes.
Those are JEWS!! You can't fool me.
(just kidding, but a common defense by these clowns against the indefensible)
Look - now you're giving the Jews more ideas. The next thing you know, we'll be out of airplanes.
If the pope and his minions were preaching butchery and slaughter to spread Christianity, all RCCs would be expected to stand up and stop it.
That reminds me of a pun I invented...
The Catholic Church had invited the world's foremost religious leaders to an ecumenical interfaith conference in Rome, but the Pope realized as the Dalai Lama exited his limo that the Swiss Guards had forgotten to line up enough furniture to hold all the hats and coats and capes that ministerial types tend to wear.
However, the Pope couldn't just have a Cardinal run out back and grab an armoire out of the Basilica, he'd be recognized, and the historic furniture of St. Peter's couldn't be moved. Worse, if the lack of preparation got out, it would embarrass the Vatican in front of the attending leaders, not to mention the church in the eyes of the world.
So quietly, John Paul decided to ask some of the lesser-known conference representatives, who had arrived early, to make their way through the throngs of religious Roman laymen gathered for the occasion and see if they could quickly lay hands on the woodwork necessary to hold the myriad accoutrements.
"Go forth, among the Papal--Sihk and Druze, shelf-find!"
"NO BLOOD FOR CHOCOLATE! Get the UN-ignoring, unilateralist Frogs out of Ivory Coast!"
I love your tagline. In your honor, it will be added to my about page.
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