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Interreligious Association for Peace and Development

Russian Mufti Presents Islam as Peacekeeper

Russia-2020-06-04-Russian Mufti Presents Islam as Peacekeeper

St. Petersburg, Russia—The mufti of the Russian Republic of Karelia was the guest at a webinar titled “The World in a Multi-Confessional Society: Utopia or Reality?”

The online event, held on June 4, 2020, was part of a series of webinars on interreligious topics organized by the Interreligious Association for Peace and Development (IAPD), a project of UPF.

This time, the guest was Sheikh Abdul-Aziz Dyatko, a member of the Council of Muftis of Russia, the mufti of the Republic of Karelia in northern Russia, and the imam of the Muslim community of the Republic of Karelia. He is a Knight of the Order of the Red Star. Sheikh Abdul-Aziz received a higher Islamic education in the United Kingdom. Now he is a fourth-year student at the All-Russian State University of Justice.

The interview was conducted by Natalia Vladimirovna Chigrina, the secretary general of UPF for Northwest Russia, who is a graduate of the A.I. Herzen Russian State University (St. Petersburg), a master of arts in religious studies, and an independent researcher.

Sheikh Abdul-Aziz said that the paths to God are different depending on what period humanity went through and who was sent at that time. This is one way for us. As a Muslim, he said, for him Moses is his favorite and Jesus his favorite. This path is one for us, as for all humankind.  “Favorites,” because when the Creator chooses, He chooses the worthiest. Naturally, they are favorites of the Lord, he said.

Sheikh Abdul-Aziz said that the peacekeeping mission of Islam is manifested in helping those in need, those who do not have the means of subsistence, and in protecting those who are being treated unfairly. Peacekeeping is a creation of the world; it does not arise by itself.

When asked for his opinion on the initiative to create an upper house of the United Nations consisting of religious leaders, cultural figures, and educators, he answered that he fully supports this idea, but this body is needed with the condition that its recommendations will be heard at the UN and its member states. These recommendations should not remain fiction. The main thing is that it comes to the result. Now it happens many times that those who have money and weapons don’t care about recommendations from the United Nations. This is not right, he said.

During the conversation, he dispelled myths that Islam was spread with the help of the sword. This contradicts the fundamental teaching of the Qur'an that “there is no compulsion in religion.” Islam tried to protect the rights of the oppressed and put the oppressors in their place, he said.

His opinion is that the world can be saved, there would be a desire. Who in this world is most loved by the Lord? The Prophet Muhammad said that the most beloved on this earth is the one who is more than just on this earth. In the life and interaction of humankind, the main basis is justice in relation to all. If there are people who are sick for the common good on the basis of justice, it is very simple to achieve peace. But this world will need to be protected, he said.