Hijabs Democracy

By Ivan Preobrazhenski

The President of Tatarstan signed amendments to the law on the freedom of conscience earlier grandiosely adopted by the State Council of this entity of the Russian Federation. In particular, foreigners are forbidden to found religious organizations in the republic. However, all the decisions made by the power were late. It’s senseless to issue a ban on the way of penetration of “foes” to Tatarstan, when in the environment of local population already occurred people, calling themselves “Mujahideens”, able to take the responsibility for the terrorist attack against the leaders of Spiritual Department of the Muslims of the Republic.

The investigation obtained new information on murder of the Head of the training division of the Spiritual Department of the Muslims of Tatarstan Valiulla Yakupov. According to the representatives of Tatarstan Investigation Committee, the video was attached to the case, at which one of those wanted in relation to this crime, takes the responsibility, pointing as an organizer of the murder (and attempt of murder of the mufti  of Tatarstan Ildus Faizov) some “Mujahideens of Tatarstan”. The case is about Raisa Mingaleeva, who had already been searched due to criminal case initiation.

This happening in fact forced Tatarstan law enforcement agencies to acknowledge, that in this entity of the Russian Federation there has been a non-announced war between law enforcement bodies and Islamist radicals for many years. Some editions, for example, the information agency “Tatar-Inform”, quoting the addresses of the current Minister of Internal Affairs of Tatarstan Artiom Hohorin during the session of the Republican Legislative Assembly (State Council). He reported (and the session was broadcasted live at the Republican TV): “More than 13 years within the territory of the republic, positioning itself as the territory of tolerance and stability, non-announced war has been lead”. According to Hohorin, earlier “Salafis tried not to attract attention: but today they openly hold protest actions and attempt to dictate their will”.

“Starting from 1999 in the Republic, according to him, they stopped the activity of 13 extremist terrorist groups, 73 members were drawn to criminal responsibility, 5 resisted with arms and were terminated, 11 have escaped, and other 11 people are under the investigation at the moment”, - reported about the real situation in Tatarstan the first for the last decades Head of the Republican Ministry of Internal Affairs with “Russian” second name. By this, actually, the subordinates of the Minister preferred not to notice his attitude to sincere dialogue with society. And literary, in a few days after his announcement, refuting the number of experts, suggesting, that Islamists can have a training camp somewhere in forest, declares, that “these all are suggestions”. “It’s simply impossible to hide some big camp”, assured “Interfax” the Head of the press service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs at Tatarstan Irina Nizhelskaya.

Thus, the authorities evidently have no stable line on how to act in the situation established in Tatarstan. Why do their actions stop at a half-way and are delayed, just like with the change of the law “On Freedom of Conscience”, which is called to force the Muslims of the community of the Republic to start living according to Soviet laws, and foreigners prevent establishment of these communities.  Even more delayed looks the raid of law enforcement agencies against the community of the so-called “Faizrakhmanists”. These “sectarians’ united around the false prophets, who founded a closed community at 700 m2. It is not known on which funds these people existed (although evidently without financial sources), but they violated almost all soviet rights of them and their children, having forbidden the children (and themselves) to learn, get medical care, freely choose their faith. Not talking about that their children lived in 8-tier dungeon under their house and almost didn’t see day light. Destruction of this sect was late at least because this community had no contacts with outside world.

And meanwhile, those who are called salaphits, actively fight for their rights and maybe for the right to force the people of Tatarstan to live under the laws of Sharia. After the scandalous picket, video records of which the prosecutor’s office gave for the analysis to experts to determine there the signs of extremism, the defenders of the rights of already arrested Islamic radicals and businessmen held already a demonstration. As their opponents claim, the demonstration was exactly of Salafists and even the covering reporters, and the police were forced to “respect the feelings of believers” and to separate female and male halves of the crowd.

Such “mass events”, probably, in the newest history of Russia has never taken place. However, if the authorities of Tatarstan shall further be so not logical and slow in their decisions – then such demonstrations shall proceed for sure. And the laws of Sharia  as Islamist radicals interpret those have no limits. It’s not that far from Kazan to Moscow.
Ivan Preobrazhenski – a political observer, publicist, PhD in political science.
Translated by EuroDialogueXXI from politcom.ru