Kamil Samigullin: 'What Fethullah Gülen has done – it is wrong’

Kamil Samigullin: 'What Fethullah Gülen has done – it is wrong’ Photo: Maksim Platonov

A conference devoted to the extremist movements has recently been held in Kazan. On the threshold of the forum, the correspondent of Realnoe Vremya talked to the mufti of Tatarstan Kamil Samigullin and the rector of the Russian Islamic Institute Rafik Mukhametshin. The speakers gave their answers to the criticism of Ildar Alyautdinov on the sermons in Tatar language and expressed their opinion about Fethullah Gülen, who is accused of the coup attempt in Turkey.

The response to Alyautdinov

On 17 November, an international scientific-practical conference 'Russia and Islamic world: search for response to the globalization of extremist movements' opened at the Academy of Sciences of Tatarstan. Several delegates from Armenia and Kazakhstan gave the conference an international status. The others were from different regions of our country. Moreover, speakers with Arabic names were citizens of Russia and spoke on behalf of Russian institutions. Almost half of the audience were students-Orientalists from the Kazan Federal University.

The president of the RT Academy of Sciences Myakzyum Salakhov, deputy head of the Tatarstan Presidential Administartion Aleksandr Terentyev and the mufti of Tatarstan Kamil Samigullin gave welcoming speeches. The moderator of the event was the director of the Center for Islamic Research of RT Rinat Pateyev.

Prior to the conference, the correspondent of Realnoe Vremya had a conversation with one of the main guests of the meeting — the chairperson of the MSB RT (the Muslim Spiritual Board of the republic of Tatarstan), the mufti Kamil Samigullin.

We remind that the chairpeson of the Muslim Spiritual Board of Moscow, the mufti Ildar Alyautdinov expressed concern about the sermons in Tatar language in the mosques of Tatarstan. In August, the delegates of a plenum of MSB RT unanimously supported the initiative of the mufti Kamil Samigullin.

Several delegates from Armenia and Kazakhstan gave the conference an international status. The others were from different regions of our country

According to Alyautdinov, part of the mosque-goers who do not speak Tatar may leave the mosque. In such matters we need to consider the views of all Muslims. And such decisions can push the believers to the 'embraces' of the sects, believes the Moscow mufti.

Kamil Samigullin in answer to the journalist stated that Alyautdinov 'just does not know the situation'.

'The man expressed his opinion, from the sidelines it maybe looks different,' said Samigullin.

The head of the MSB RT noted that only in three mosques of the Republic the imams were preaching in Russian. The initiative to read vagaz exclusively in Tatar was unanimously endorsed by all the imams at a plenum of the Muslim Spiritual Board of Tatarstan.

'The claims were only from a couple of mosques,' said the mufti to the correspondent of Realnoe Vremya. 'They sent the same 'goers'. Sometimes you look at how Russian guys stand up for Russian sermon, but they do not always come on time to prayer. Their goal is only to pray. They do not always listening (to imam – editor's note).

In the interview with our journalist, Samigullin also said that classes on the fundamentals of Islam continue to be taught in Russian.

'If there will be those who wish, we can arrange lessons in English, find teachers,' he added.

As for the concern of possible leaving of mosque-goers who do not understand Tatar sermon, the chairperson of MSB RT noted that the sermons were always in Tatar and young people leave to the radical movements not because of vagaz in an understandable language for them.

The president of Academy of Sciences of RT Myakzyum Salakhov welcomed the audience

'What Fethullah Gülen has done – it is wrong'

The correspondent of Realnoe Vremya, in his turn, asked an opinion of Kamil Samigullin on an Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, whom the Turkish authorities accused of organizing the military coup in July 2016 in Turkey. By the way, a month earlier, the Tatarstan's mufti called the activities of Gülen and his supporters (Turkish abbreviation FETO — 'a terrorist organization of Fethullah Gülen'), inhuman and contrary to Islam norms.

The mufti in conversation with our journalist denied the media statements that he allegedly said that the supporters of the Turkish theologian are non-Muslims. He also stressed that there are quite many followers of Gülen, who now lives in the U.S., in the world.

'Many people loved him, believed in him. They even now refuse to believe his involvement in those events. Although the Turkish side has provided all the evidence. We have seen all the reports,' said the mufti.

Samigullin advised young people who are sympathetic to the Turkish preacher to change their mind, but at the same time, to continue to perform namaz, keep fasts, as they used to do before. He believes that they became Muslims 'not because there is Fethullah Gülen'. And his sermons, according to the chairperson of MSB RT, can be completely replaced by 'our good theologians, great literature.'

However, he is against Turkish-American theologian himself.

'What Fethullah Gülen has done — it is wrong,' emphasizes Samigullin. 'Clearly, there were some political views, it was necessary to replace Erdoğan. But there were released bullets against their own citizens. These generals were living on the country's budget, and shoot the taxpayers — it is unconscionable.'

Kamil Samigullin is against the Turkish-American theologian himself

However, the interlocutor of our newspaper does not detract from the merits of Gülen. He agreed that on his initiative there were built good schools in many countries, universities were founded. However, he criticized another aspect of the actions of the Turkish theologian – dialogue between religions.

'We even discussed the dialogue between religions with Metropolitan Feofan. We have another approach. Dialogue is conducted in order to gather, to sit, to find common points. There are some issues, on which it is impossible to make concessions. For example, it is quite logical when a Muslim loves his religion more than the Christian, and a Christian believes his religion is true. There are internal postulates where we should not interfere. In Tatarstan, we have come to this understanding: we live in a big house, but everyone has their own apartment. We cannot now move to a communal apartment, but their idea was similar to this: let's mix, something will be shared, some postulates can be sacrificed. But this cannot be: we have our own concept, own ideology, the Orthodox and the Jews have their own ones. We will not start these matters. We will only discuss things that unite us. So, there is no need to rummage in the ideology of Christians in order to find something that fits you. It would be pointless and wrong.'

By Timur Rakhmatullin. Photo: by the author