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Anti-Fitna Wave Reaches Russia

Fitna the Movie directed and uploaded on the Internet by Dutch right-wing politician Geert Wilders at the end of March has caused a predictable reaction around the world more affective in Islamic countries and reserved yet disapproving in Europe. Russia has not been left untouched by the film either, which is reflected in utterances of official and religious organizations with the most Fitna-Wilders-stigmatizing reaction noticed in the Jewish community.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia

The official message of the Ministry of Foreign Affair of Russia says the country categorically slams demonstration of the anti-Islam film. Russia that again and again stands for mending the inter-civilization dialogue, mutual respect and consideration for traditions and customs of religious faiths, categorically slams demonstration of this film and takes it as provocative and being able to invoke the same negative outcome as in the recent case with the Mohammed caricatures published by a number of European media.

Muslim Community

Board of Muftis of Russia has clearly backed the initiative of Secretary General of the Organisation of The Islamic Conference (OIC) Ekmeledin Ihsanoglu calling western countries and the UN to work out a legislation base prohibiting profanation of any religion. Board of Muftis of Russia is sure that the initiative of OIC Secretary General would weaken the assaults against not only Islam but also against Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism. We deem that spiritual values must be legislatively protected from unlimited permissiveness, the Boards message says. According to the muftis, this refers to all, especially to the western politicians who think they can do whatever they want under the mask of democracy.

The problem of anti-Islamic films exists in the Russian segment of the Internet, according to Islam researcher Roman Silantyev. He claims that an anti-Shia film, translated into Russian, has for a long time been available on a number of Russian Muslim websites. The film, telling about Shia crimes, roughly insults followers of the Shia Islam branch, and factually calls to their extermination. According to Roman Silantyev, Russian anti-Islam films are much more dangerous than the scandalous film of Geert Wilders, as they really create a possibility of transferring the Shia-Sunni conflict to the Russian Muslim population.

Orthodox Christians

Members of the Orthodox Christianity in Russia have shown different reactions to Fitna with prevailingly the disapproving one. Insulting religious and national feelings always causes a disruptive reaction. Although Christians normally react in a more reserved way than Muslims do, we are in sympathy with Muslims protecting their religious feelings, as Head of the Moscow Patriarchy, priest Vladimir Vigilyansky says.

Another Orthodox priest, Boris Mikhailov (Holy Mary Cathedral in Moscow), expresses a bit different opinion on Fitna: Such sharp reaction in the West is caused, apparently, by fear of the processes that followed publication of Mohammed caricatures which caused a burst of outrage in the Muslim world. We need to remember that Geert`s film was brought to life by a real not imaginary reason: it is a way to express concern about the rapid islamization of Europe. And this concern is easy to understand, the priest marks.


Chief Rabbi of Russia Berl Lazar thinks that the film of the Dutch politician Geert Wilders must be banned from being featured anywhere, including the Internet, and a criminal proceeding must be initiated against the film author. According to the Rabbi words, the aim of the film is to accuse Islam of spreading terror. The very position of equalling Islam to terror looks insulting to me, Berl Lazar says.

Chief Rabbi also claims that the the best respond would be to set up complete informational blockade to this politician and remove the scandalous film from the Internet even if someone considers it to be censorship.

There is an opinion that there could be two main reasons why reaction of the Russian Jews looks most categorical. Berl Lazar might dislike the film because it largely supposes stamps and labels associated with a certain religion and there is no guarantee that tomorrow the Jews will not be labelled too. The other version supposes that the Jews do not want to be somehow accused of being involved in formation of the negative image of Islam presented in Fitna.

Natalya Lavrentyeva

April 7, 2008 14:24

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