You might be surprised to learn that I never post anything or participate in Internet discussions about Islam in my native language, Russian. The reason is that I am afraid.
First, I am afraid of the consequences for myself. The best way of dealing with Russia’s authorities is keeping a low profile and not attracting their attention. You never know what will be considered a material breech that might land you in prison. And I’d like to keep the possibility to visit my friends and relatives in Russia.
Second, I am afraid of the consequences for the country. I am 100% sure Islam is a harmful ideology. I clearly see Europe is committing a suicide, bringing in the people from an alien culture who are mainly unable to integrate, and I try to oppose it. However, I am not so resolute when it comes to my native country.
Muslims have lived in Russia for centuries, and the majority of them (at least the older generation) are mainly secular. 70 years of state-imposed atheism brought its results. And if anyone starts saying out loud that Islam is bad, they might feel attacked, and this can radicalize them. So I can’t see a sound strategy for dealing with growth of Islam in Russia. That’s why I’d like to ask for advice from outsiders, not having emotional ties to this country.
The situation with Islam in Russia is similar to that of Europe and USA in some aspects.
Like in Europe, we experience a flood of Muslim migrants, both legal and illegal, from Muslim countries situated to the south of Russia. People flee from poor economical situation and oppression from dictators who rule these formally democratic states.
Like the USA, who have to turn a blind eye on Saudi Arabia’s violation of human rights, being dependent on its oil and considering it a strategic ally in the Middle East, we have Chechnya. Any analogy is incomplete and approximate of course, but the price of ending the war with Chechnya and keeping influence in the region was making alliance with “good” Islamists against “bad” ones, and this republic within the Russian Federation is implementing Sharia to a great extent. Sometimes scandals break out, like a 17-year-old girl forced to marriage with a 47-year-old police officer, but no action is taken.
So I’d like to ask you, what would be your advice to Russia’s President on dealing with Islam to keep Russia a secular state but not cause a civil war?