‘ISIS is not Islam’ – Russian university releases anti-extremist textbook
“Without any exaggeration, the whole world is now fighting with the Islamic State. Their principles are inhumane and destructive for the very foundations of humanity. As we study Islam and Orthodox Chistianity on the Theology Department of our university we can expertly explain the processes that are now taking place in the world,” the chancellor of the Urals State Mining University said in an interview with Komsomolskaya Pravda daily.
“The Russian President is now allocating a lot of his attention to the explanations over the issue. Our country is setting an example on how to correctly oppose extremists. These are the reasons behind our ‘ISIS is not Islam’ book,” the rector said.
He also explained that the professors started to pay special attention to anti-ISIS propaganda after one of the university’s students, 19-year old Varvara Karaulova left Russia for Turkey this summer in the hope of marrying an ISIS fighter she had met online. The girl was detained by Turkish law enforcement officers and returned to Russia, but the case gained a lot of attention in the media.
The head of the Theology Department, Aleksey Starostin, said in his explanations that the anti-ISIS book was the first such work in Russia. He also told reporters that it had already been distributed in many mosques and educational establishments, and that the authors of the book would be happy if it becomes known all over the Urals region and even all over Russia.
The mufti of the Sverdlovsk Region, Abdul Kuddus, has supported the university’s initiative. He also told journalists that Muslim scholars had taken participated in the work on the book and that they wanted to explain that the Islamic State’s policies were undermining the authority of Islam as a religion.
In July, the head of Russia’s Federal Security Service addressed security agencies from 64 nations and urged them to step up their efforts in exposing the Islamic State’s propaganda and discrediting their leaders.
“We should expand the practice of joint operative investigation into terrorist groups, expose and stop the activities of people who form the core of these organizations, discredit their leaders and sow discord among these bandits,” Aleksandr Bortnikov told the international conference of heads of special services and law enforcement bodies dedicated to the threat from Islamic State.
Since last December, Russia has officially designated Islamic State and the affiliated Al-Nusra Front as terrorist groups, banning all citizens from participating in these organizations and rendering those supporting them liable to criminal prosecution. In addition, two major Russian Muslim unions have issued fatwas denouncing the Islamic State as enemies of Islam and calling for the punishment of all its members.
Last week the Russian Air Force started carrying out air strikes on terrorist positions in Syria at the request of the country’s president, Bashar Assad. They have already destroyed dozens of terrorist bases, headquarters and supply dumps as well as dozens of tanks that the extremists stole from the Syrian Army.