Beslan Uspanov: ''As if the country has no other problems except girls’ veils at schools''
The expert believes that Kadyrov and Minnikhanov will at least discuss the ‘’veil’’ scandal in a Tatar village of Mordovia
The statement of the Minister of Education of Russia Olga Vasilyeva that ''hijabs have no place at school'' caused criticism from the head of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov. The politician in his response to the official referred to the 28 th article of the Constitution, according to which everyone has the rifgt for freedom of religion. Kadyrov advised Vasilyeva to examine the role of Islam in science. Realnoe Vremya talked to the chief editor of the Caucasian politics newspaper Beslan Uspanov. He told whether the cooperation of Ramzan Kadyrov with Rustam Minnikhanov is possible on the basis of the ban on hijabs in schools and what was the reaction of the Caucasus to the statement of the Minister of Education of the Russian Federation.
Double standards and graduate girls in underwear
The head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov has recently commented on the statement of Olga Vasilyeva about hijab. Do you agree with his criticism?
Of course, I do. This problem is not new, it is highly delicate and, unfortunately, the main victims in this story are children who should get an education. We should understand that it is the contingent, who is the future of the country. <...>
Actually, I don't see a problem when girls wear hijabs. Why such a harsh response to the fact that a girl wears hijab? For some reason they forget the fact that she might have good grades. By the way, in the story with these girls from Kara-Tyube it was exactly like that. Most girls were excellent students, and this scandal knocked them out of the educational process: they did not go to school anymore, they studied at home. In the end, they have got an education. But what is important to understand: in these games of adults, unfortunately, it is always children who suffer.
How can you personally comment on the statement of Vasilyeva, in particular, that ''the true believers do not seek to emphasize the attributes of their faith''?
If we move from the wording of Ms Vasilyeva that the belief is in everyone's soul, I think that this is not quite correct, especially when it comes from the mouth of a federal minister empowered to work in education field, the activity of whom affects the future of our country, and a highly educated person, who has, if I am not mistaken, three degrees. It is not entirely correct to say that the belief in the soul: everyone has different degree of his belief, faith in God, faith in anything. For someone, it is just to go to a church once a year, or mosque, or synagogue, but for someone a Friday prayer every week is normal. <…> This is an individual matter. But we have the main document of our country — the Constitution, which allows any citizen to profess their faith freely.
Therefore, when the head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov called on to deal with the real problems: drug addiction, immorality in our schools and so forth, I believe that if we really want to raise a healthy generation who will care for seniors, who will develop our country, first and foremost we should educate the moral quality in our students.
By the way, double standards take place here. They can have such attitude to girls who wear hijabs and who have excellent grades (no complaints to them, they win a variety of competitions). At the same time, they turn a blind eye to the fact that some girls-pupils can come to school, excuse me for the expression, in the buff. And here, unfortunately, I do not exaggerate: you remember a few videos on YouTube, when graduates of 2016 received their certificates literally in underwear. Despite a large number of views, this subject draws no attention, for example, of Ms Vasilyeva. Why do not clean up the mess?
''When the head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov called on to deal with the real problems: drug addiction, immorality in our schools and so forth, I believe that if we really want to raise a healthy generation who will care for seniors, who will develop our country, first and foremost we should educate the moral quality in our students.'' Photo: grozny-inform.ru
The reaction of the Caucasus
How did the Caucasus reacted to a similar statement of the Minister of the Russian Federation? Have they been outraged?
Let's say, the Caucasus immediately responds on any topic that somehow relates to Islam. So it was in the case with the prohibition of hijabs in Kara-Tyube. That time an initiative group of Muslims, lawyers, attorneys were engaged in this business. It was when the court of Novorossiysk banned the translation of the Koran by Azerbaijani theologian Elmira Guliyeva: the initiative group sued out the protection. Including the recent story, when a court at the other end of our country recognized the Surah of the Quran almost extremist and then again Ramzan Kadyrov had his word. He was fully supported by many spiritual leaders and heads of Muslim republics. A few days ago, before this problems with hijabs in Mordovia, in the Internet there appeared a video, where a comedian (Ilya Davydov (Maddyson) — a Russian videobloger – editor's note) insulted the Koran. It was absolutely bawdy jokes, and the Caucasian society and various public figures immediately reacted to it. By the way, thanks to the media they [public figures] are now almost defendants in a criminal case, because the called to calm down this comic.
We have become accustomed and we already have experience that when the head of Chechnya intervenes and says his word on a particular topic, the case definitely gets a continuation. As soon as he said it, then the Muftiate of the Chechen Republic responded and said that it is the infringement of human rights and the Chechen Parliament (in which the majority represents the United Russia) reacted by saying that he will promote a corresponding draft law.
You know, maybe we should introduce some kind of educational program among the officials themselves, so that they understand the difference between niqab, hijab and paranja. We was when the president said that it is strange to us and this is not our culture, but he was talking about paranja. But no one goes to school paranja, no one covers the entire face leaving only the eyes. I am more than confident that the Minister of Education does not fully understand the essence of the subject. When a girl chastely, modestly attends her lessons, achieves academic success, then these children, conversely, need to be encouraged. It shouldn't be a problem, thereby removing children from education.
''A few days ago, before this problems with hijabs in Mordovia, in the Internet there appeared a video, where a comedian insulted the Koran. It was absolutely bawdy jokes, and the Caucasian society and various public figures immediately responded to it.'' Photo: pravda-team.ru
Speaking of removing from education: it is in educational institutions scandals ignite over religious clothing. Is it some kind of trend? Don't you think that Muslims want to remove from education?
I don't think so. <...> If someone pursues this goal, in this case, the aim is not only to push back Muslims from education, but rather simply to divide our country into several parts. After all, for some Muslims, this issue will not stop, if we so to separate children and say that one is dressed correctly and the other incorrectly. Let's clothe those who are naked comes to school events, or those (it is enough to watch videos on YouTube) who puts the buckets on the heads of their teachers, mocking their teachers. <…>
Let's deal with the main problems, and only then we will think, how can we come to some kind of standard in order rich and poor children did not look different from each other in our schools. And then we will see how look Muslim women, Hebrewesses, Christian women and so on.
''I think here at least they will talk (probably they already did), come to an agreement. Generally speaking, considering their good relations, there must be a joint reaction to it. It is difficult to say whether it will be public.'' Photo: prav.tatarstan.ru
''There must be a joint reaction of Kadyrov and Minnikhanov to it''
We have recently discussed this subject with Nadezhda Kevorkova, and she called Islamophobia a crucial element in the world politics. Do you agree with this statement?
I can't help but agree with Ms. Kevorkova, whom I respect. How else can I explain the fact that again and again various Muslim regimes fall under the international ''sanctions'' in the form of bombings, complete destruction of infrastructure and people? We have been observing this for many years. How else can we explain various islamophobes, starting with America and ending in Europe, manage to burn publicly the Koran, to voice the slogans, according to which Islam is terrorism? They put an equal sign between these two concepts, and this is done with the connivance of the leadership of countries and agencies.
We don't see any force that would be on the world stage tell about the fact that Islam is not terrorism. The terms Islamists and jihadists are used by all the leading media in the world, but I as a Muslim hate that I considered to be an Islamist or jihadist, I'm not. And they can say that this is not about me, but I also confess Islam. Let the terrorists call terrorists, and Muslims — Muslims, Christians — Christians.
Moreover, it is ridiculous when people speak about Muslims that they come from other places while they have been living here for a long time. We know well how Moscow was built and who built it, how many Tatars lived there, how many Tatar streets are there. Today's Northern Caucasus is not newcomers, it is an ancestral territory of people of Chechnya, Dagestan, Ingushetia, etc. At the same time, the president stressed many times that Muslims are part of our country.
Back to Mordovia. In your opinion, who could initiate the ban?
Every incident can have an individual situation. In some cases, it can be a kind of tyranny of local municipal minor officials. Sometimes it could be a simple influence of different bodies that not always are interested in the extension of influence, for example, of the Muslim community. An order from the top can be somewhere. Generally speaking, it gives a ''necessary'' effect on defamation of Muslims as it the country has other problems except girls' scarves at schools.
From your point of view, will Rustam Minnikhanov and Ramzan Kadyrov cooperate on this issue?
I know Tatarstan and Chechnya. Thanks to the friendship of Ramzan Kadyrov and Rustam Minnikhanov, many people from the top consider this tandem (it is not a secret for anybody) as a fraternal cooperation where one brother is a leader in Caucasus and the other brother is the flagship in the Volga region. I think here at least they will talk (probably they already did), come to an agreement. Generally speaking, considering their good relations, there must be a joint reaction to it. It is difficult to say whether it will be public.