Russian Muslim leader criticizes anti-Jewish rioters over ‘Allahu Akbar’ chants
The head of the Muslim Coordination Center in Russia’s North Caucasus, Ismail Berdiev, has condemned the rioters who targeted an airport in Dagestan on Sunday, accusing them of using the term ‘Allahu Akbar’ in an unacceptable way.
Dagestani capital Makhachkala was the scene of unrest when pro-Palestinian protesters broke into the local airport looking for alleged refugees from Israel.
In an interview with RIA Novosti on Monday, Berdiev criticized the rioters, noting that “extolling the Almighty by shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ is appropriate only when there is a sound reason for it.”
He added that religious holidays, prayers, or family celebrations were suitable occasions, but that praising Allah “during illegal marches and demonstrations, as happened during the storming of the airport in Makhachkala, [is] unacceptable.”
Berdiev also noted that rioters had used exclamations of religious praise alongside “blasphemous words” that are forbidden in Islam. “The faithful are barred from uttering profanities. A Muslim must control his actions and not shoot off the mouth, thereby setting a bad example for his brothers,” he insisted.
Berdiev’s comments came after hundreds of protesters gathered outside Makhachkala Airport on Sunday, later breaking into the facility and blocking the runway. They then boarded planes in search of “Jewish refugees” allegedly fleeing their homeland following the attack by Palestinian armed group Hamas earlier this month.
The unrest at the airport led to clashes with police, resulting in several officers being injured and dozens of protesters being detained. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov suggested that the riots had “obviously” been influenced by foreign forces, and stressed that Russian President Vladimir Putin was paying close attention to the issue.
The head of Dagestan, Sergey Melikov, alleged that Ukrainian nationalists were trying to destabilize the situation in the republic by fomenting ethnic and religious divisions through social media channels. He also vowed that those responsible for the rioting would be held accountable, suggesting that they could atone by joining Russian forces fighting Ukraine.