Policy Memos

The U.S. War on Terrorism: How Do Russian Muslims Respond?

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In response to the September 11 terror attacks on New York City and Washington D.C., Russia’s Muslim leaders went to great lengths to make a legitimate and valid distinction between Islam as religious faith and Islamism as a radical political ideology calling for a global jihad against the West. Speaking on behalf of Russia’s Muslims—whose estimated numbers range from 14 to 22 million out of Russia’s population of 145 million— Ravil Gainutdin, chairman of the Russian Council of Muftis, expressed condolences to the American people and dissociated Islam from terrorist acts. He said: “[The] Qur’an evaluates a person who killed another one as having killed the whole [of] mankind” and therefore “anyone who has engaged in terrorism under the cover of Islamic slogans is a criminal before Allah and he must be punished while still in ‘this world’.” Gainutdin added that not only do Russian Muslims have nothing in common with the Taliban, but that the Taliban has nothing in common with Islam: “If they had thought of Islam, they would have taken care of the purity of religion, instead of harming the rest of the Muslim world.” [...]

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About the author

Professor of Political Science
San Diego State University