Staunton, August 31 – The World Russian Popular Assembly has called for naming streets in Russia in the memory of those Islamic leaders “who at the price of their lives defended traditional values,” an appeal Muslim leaders welcome as highlighting both the strength of Islam in Russia and the convergence of Russian Orthodoxy and the Muslim community.
“It is deeply symbolic,” Mufti Albir Krganov says, “that on the eve of Kurban Bayram, the World Russian Popular Assembly has come out with this initiative. This is an indicator of the internal situation of our society and a mark of the deep mutual respect between our peoples and religions” (interfax-religion.ru/?act=news&div=68027).
Among those who may be candidates for such honors are Valilulla Yakupov, the Tatarstan mufti who was killed in Kazan in July 2012, and Said Atsayev, better known as Said Chirkeyskiy who was killed in Daghestan in the same year. Those are individuals about whom there might be little controversay.
But in reporting this idea, Krganov points to some others whose names may soon grace Russian streets but only at the price of sparking new controversies. Among them is Mukhammat-Safar Bayazitov, who opposed the 1917 revolutions and who then in 1937 was executed by Stalin.
The Moscow mufti says that the Spiritual Assembly of Muslims of Russia which he heads “plans in support of these renamings to conduct a number of actions in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Kazan as well as in Makhachkala.
“I consider,” the mufti says, “that the stable development of society will be secured not only by the economic growth of the country but also by the good-neighborly coexistence of various cultures and religions” that such renamings will both symbolize and promote.” It very much remains to be seen if Russian Orthodox nationalists will agree with that.