Cultological Culture

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Saturday, October 23, 2004

Love and sex in Islam - commentary.
From my viewpoint, the name of the book was very well chosen, that is, it touches upon two relationships that men and women have with each other - love and sex. Islam, in contrast to, shall we say, Christianity, does not generally have any sort of prohibitions within it. There are impermissible acts that lead to destruction, but areas that are off-limits for discussion are not provided for. However, certain situations undoubtedly require awareness and a choice of proper conduct.
Thus, discussing the topic of sex is perfectly normal in Islam, and I also consider the name of the book entirely justified. Unfortunately, however, certain of the so-called "ethical Muslims" appeal to representatives of other religions, Orthodoxy in particular, where traditionally the attitude toward flesh and toward sex is actually semi-negative.
In the Middle Ages in Russia, for example, a couple draped the icons during times of intimate closeness. From my point of view, that was a hypocritical attitude: if it was to be that sex was bad, then why do it, and if it is not bad, then why does it need to be embarrassing?
In the negative reaction of certain Muslims to the name and theme of the book, I see the influence of Christians on "ethical Muslims", mainly, on Tatars who have partially adapted to a worldview not peculiar to monotheism. Back in its day, Christianity borrowed this from gnosticism.
As a reminder, the starting position of Christianity includes the world originally being spiritual, the spirit of Adam was in all people, i.e., the human being lay exclusively in the spirit. When the first people sinned, then in punishment from God they found flesh. From that time, man's goal has been to constantly strive for liberation from matter, like it was aggravating him, fighting with it on a spiritual basis.
This ancient concept has something in common with various central Asian concepts, even Hindu and Buddhist ideology. Somewhere in them one can find assertions, according to which flesh is evil in and of itself and, consequently, people need to be saved from it. This also crossed over into Manichaeism, the Bogomil sect, and others.
In the inadequate reaction to the book, "Love and Sex in Islam," there is also an element of Soviet era consciousness, which from my viewpoint is nonetheless a product of Christianity. At first the Soviet power in the revolutionary rejection of the past world fought with domestic tyranny, with prejudice, and they conducted mass demonstrations under the slogan "Down with shame!". But already under Stalin, who in essence revived a Byzantine model of power, on one hand, life became decent and the wave of anarchy stopped, but on the other hand, a sanctimonious attitude toward sex returned.
From the viewpoint of Islam, "sex" is not quite a normal word. Undoubtedly something needs to be written in this sphere of human relations that conveys an explanation of authoritative theologians on this account.
But of course the topic of sex is not childish. It's clear that the book published by "Ansar," as has been said, is for adults. In it are given fatwas, theological conclusions, which will be useful for couples. And if a young man or woman does not get this information from Islamic teachings, from approved people, then they will get information about sex through other means - on the streets or driveways, which could push them into depravity. In this way, those who try to disrupt the topic of intimate relations, even though they are concerned for public moral health, attain exactly the opposite result.
For my part I hope that Muslims nonetheless in the near future surmount this worldview which is not characteristic for Islam. There's no need to fight at all, just a certain measure of delicacy in speaking about the intimate sphere and be spiritually disposed to the body. I.e., not setting spirit and matter in opposition, but spiritualizing the flesh itself.
In marriage, love ought to be built into the ideal coexistence. Therefore, when the relationship of a man and woman are spiritualized for love, then they cause great joy for people. The wisdom of the Almighty lies in this: please, enjoy, but don't do the forbidden - don't take what belongs to others, don't lead a depraved life, don't murder. And being ashamed of the given area of relations signifies opposing the will of Allah.
Islam.Ru, Ali-Vyacheslav Polosin
archive url: http://cultology.blogspot.com/2004/10/#109852604692524610

Students to see world of Old Russia
A lesson in creation for students and their parents. A window into the world of ancient icon-painting is being held 17 October in the Arkhangelsky Museum of Fine Arts.
Senior scientific museum staff member Tamara Strazhinskaya reported to the "Dvina-Inform" agency that this excursion would begin a sort of introduction into the art and culture of Old Russia. "On the basis of our regular exposition, we want to reveal the beauty of the ancient icons for visitors," said the museum employee. They included the "Veil of the Holy Mother of God," the "Icon of Our Savior," and ancient 14th century cult statues." And the Russian Art hall doors will be open on the next day off for children: pupils will learn the story behind the creation of the portrait of Princess Dolgoruka.
DVAInform.Ru, 16.10.04, Larisa Oparina
archive url: http://cultology.blogspot.com/2004/10/#109852601737179225

Mystic Vibrations of the Roots playing reggae and ska in Moscow.
Near the end of October the Kaliningrad group "Mystic Vibrations of the Roots" will be conducting a four-day guest tour in the capital. Although with such a name it could also be a rastamansky group, or a group with a psychodelic bent, in practice their style is defined with a blend of Afro-beat, funk, ska, reggae, jazz, blues, fusion and ethno-music.
However the group started in 1998 with what they called the roots of reggae. After a couple of years some of its members came to Moscow and started to play with Oldi, Jah Division and Zhanna Aguzarova. The new members adapted and very quickly developed today's style.
Despite the six-year history of recording, the debut "Sarava" album is only now approaching. Along with their own material, the album contains cult songs of native peoples of Africa in the languages Yoruba, Mandinka, Suso-Muso and Creole.
In the recording, "Mystic Vibrations of Roots" was helped out by the Jah Division and the "Body Guard Committee," and on one song from the Moscow concerts, assistance came from a ska master from Cabernet Deneuve.
On 21 October they'll be at "Projekt OGI" club, 22 October at the "Bilingua" club, 23 October (with Cabernet Deneuve) at the "Klub Na Brestskoy", and 24 October at the "China Flyer Jao-Da" club.
Lenta.Ru, 16.10.04
archive url: http://cultology.blogspot.com/2004/10/#109852598805034301

One month after the bloody hostage drama in Beslan, the activity of the Scientology-Organization has greatly increased in the small North Ossetian city. For instance, a Scientology television advertisement was broadcast over a local Ossetian television station, reported the religio.ru Internet portal. In it terrorist victims and their families were urged to go to the organization's "Center for Psychological Aid."
Parallel to this was a report, according to which the "Jehovahs Witnesses" were also carrying out a missionary campaign in the city. Representatives of the Orthodox Church and the Islamic Commnity of Ossetia condemned the attempt [of the organizations] to use the misfortune of the people of Ossetia for their own purposes. The Orthodox Church regards the "Jehovahs Witnesses" and Scientology as "totalitarian sects."
Beslan's city administration intends to keep theincreasingly active missionary workers away from residents, who are still in shock. Also the Ossetian authorities are planning to propose a law that would not make it impossible for "traditional religious communities" to work in the area of the Caucasian partial republic.
During a hostage-taking in a Beslan school, more than 300 people were killed the beginning of September. There is hardly a family in the city that has not lost a friend or family member in the tragedy.
Russland today, 20.10.04, Moscow.
archive url: http://cultology.blogspot.com/2004/10/#109852593052041598

Grateful Dead Movie released on DVD.
The cult film, "The Grateful Dead Movie," which first came out back in 1977, is being released on DVD November 9. Besides the original issue, to which will be added a bonus disk with one and a half hours recording of the group in concert.
As a reminder, "The Grateful Dead Movie includes an October 1974 Grateful Dead concert in San Francisco. Then the group, led by Jerry Garcia,was preparing to take an extended leave of absence. Many assert that the film manages to keep the spirit and effect of the Grateful Dead show "live" on tape.
On a second disk are previously unpublished segemnts of appearance by the group. The tracks include "Uncle John's Band," "Sugaree," Dark Star," "China Cat Sunflower" and "I Know You Rider." Besides that, it include a documentary film that tells about the creation of "The Grateful Dead Mvoie" and a collection of photographs.
Music.Ua, 15.10.04
archive url: http://cultology.blogspot.com/2004/10/#109852595917145792

Shaman cult objects and scenes from the life of Alaskan natives on exhibit in the History of Religion Museum.
The words of Azat Minnekayev, who lives in Alaska for some time, and shaman cult objects from the reserves of the History of Religion Museum have been put on display in the "Tambourine Metamorphosis" exihibit.
"Linen stretched on a frame, this is my tambourine, but a tambourine, for the shamans, was a means of universal transportation through the world," A Minnekayev told Interfax.
The northern environment and the life of the northern peoples, in the artist's opinion, is inseparable. And so the vivid pictures by A. Minnekayev, portray the general coplexity of three years of living in Alaska - people, sea, boats, scenes from seal and whale hunts. Residents of the north, busy with everyday life - hunting - caught by the artist like heroes from a myth or fairy tale.
"I worked on an island that has 600 people and 400,000 seals, more than a thousand per mile of coast. You forget there's people there, even a rock has an aura of creation and its existence, and there the spirit of the present exists," the artist is sure.
On display at the exhibit are objects, with whose aid the Chukchi, Aleuts and Altai peoples had communication with spirits at the beginning of the 20th century. Among them are ritual figurines, stautes, amulets, a sacred board for making fire and wooden whales, in which were kept the most sacred things, and also shaman tambourines.
"The tambourine unites different peoples, this is a sort of world model for them, spirits are outlined on them, they depict the middle and upper worlds," comented State History of Religion Museum deputy director Tatyana Dmitrieva.
Interfax.Ru, 15.10.04, St. Petersburg.
archive url: http://cultology.blogspot.com/2004/10/#109852586842149348

McDonald’s choking on hamburgers.
An important part of a brand, which provides much of its value, is the name. The value this time is measured in billions of dollars. Therefore the reason that can force the corporate standard of McDonald's to reject a name has to be revolutionary indeed.
One of the three most familiar symbols in the world, the symbol for the McDonald's company almost certainly will be replaced by a question mark. In Great Britain an advertising campaign began for the fast food giant. On posters along with the well-known "golden arches" will be a golden question mark.
The advertising agency that developed this concept asserts that the new logo has to be a symbol of a changed company, which is now oriented toward healthy food, as well as the unhealthy, with which McDonald’s is normally associated. On the advertising billboards are photographs of fresh salads and fruit accompanied by a question mark and the approximate slogan, "McDonald’s - but not like you know it."
There has already been a change in the image of the fast-food giant, directed toward changing the look of its public area. McDonald’s made an agreement with the Vegetarian society about mutual support, and using this action to introduce its salad menu. However, compared with today's new presentation, that is simply not getting attention.
Still, would it help one of the main symbols of globalization if it did not return a huge profit, but just stayed afloat? After all, McDonald's is not faced only with the fight for a healthy way of life, but with political powers, too, the anti-globalists and anti-americanists. Company managers have not managed to spot the crisis in a timely fashion: the movement toward healthy food and the fight with obesity has been gathering steam for a long time. Manifestations of this have been developing remarkably actively in the USA, where a big demand for production with "low fat" began back in the early 1990s. However, company managers realized this only at the last moment, when its income in Great Britain plummeted by nearly three-quarters, from 83.8 million pounds to 23.6 million, which was the lowest rate in ten years! The fight against unhealthy food became the fight against the business it was engaged in. But sometimes there was even more profit. Among the opponents of McDonald’s are not only doctors who were alarmed at universal obesity, and anti-globalists, but also marketing experts.
Using any sort of "black" aspects of PR technology against McDonald’s is unnecessary today. On a wave of success, one can fully drown this brand by "clean" methods. What's more, the responding measure from McDonald's, despite the revolutionary character of the challenge, is that for now they can only cause success - You will agree to associate McDonald's with healthy food - for today that's nonsense. The main symbol of the company is not a question mark and not even the well-known letter "M", but the ordinary hamburger, which has nothing healthy about it. Nevertheless it's possible for those responsible for McDonald's marketing policies to start finding an even more radical way than changing its logo and, as VV Zhirinovsky puts it, publicly trample their first-born.
So if they heed of McDonald's sorry efforts, it's probable today's other cult brands, Coca-Cola and Pepsi, will be considering their own futures. For the time being they feel relatively safe, since their products, to put it mildly, have nothing to do with health.
PROnline.Ru, 14.10.04
archive url: http://cultology.blogspot.com/2004/10/#109852582766447826

Mark Knopfler remembers the 60s.
Renowned musician Mark Knopfler released his fourth solo album, "Shangri-La." That is what the former leader of the cult group "Dire Straits" called his new disk in honor of the legendary studio in Malibu, where in their day Bob Dylan, Neil Young and other performers recorded.
Fourteen songs were written and arranged by Knopfler in the spirit of the 1960s. In essence these are relaxing, melodic ballads in which are blended blues, country and rock motifs. In his press release the musician noted that Old California was much influenced by things which he did, and part of this was reflected on the recording. Also he felt as if he were in the 60s, but there was also a much earlier influence from childhood, such as Lonnie Donegan, whom one of the songs is dedicated to, and "Shadows."
Taking part in the recording were a team of musicians who have steadily worked with Knopfler, including former Dire Straits keyboardist Guy Fletscher.
Mark Freuder Knopfler was born 12 August 1949 in Glasgow, Scotland. In 1977 he and his friends organized the group "Dire Straits." For some years the group attained colossal popularity all over the world. Its albums sold millions of copies. In 1995 Knopfler started a solo career. His manner of playing on the guitar is considered one of the most interesting in the rock world - he's left-handed, but uses his right hand for strumming, like most righty guitarists, but gives it lots of precedence: his more powerful hand sets on the struts and enables him to make a very good vibrato. A distinct trait of his style lies in not using a pick.
Source: Lenta.Ru, 15.10.04
archive url: http://cultology.blogspot.com/2004/10/#109852579835885986

Eparchal courts to judge Sverdlovsk clergy.
In the near future the Yekaterinburg eparchy will create an eparchal court, Archbishop of Yekaterinburg and Verkhotursk Vikentiy announced 12 October at a press conference. As he said, they will judge clergy and laymen who work for the church. Grounds for court proceedings would be breaches by cult followers of chuch canon or of Yekaterinburg eparchy regulations. If those accused were found guilty, they would be faced with loss of rank, exclusion from the church or from communion, etc., reported "UralPolit.Ru."
In the opinion of the senior church official, the creation of an eparchal court is necessary. Churches were originally involved in court issues in Russia. "That practice should be revived," he said. Besides that, the new department fences the church off from interference secular judicial organs. "We have our charter, registered with the RF Justice Ministry. And if we live according to it, then no one can get mixed up in our affairs," said the archbishop.
Regnum.Ru, 12.10.04
archive url: http://cultology.blogspot.com/2004/10/#109852576439077960

30 years of "children's surprise."
A product which has revolutionized the landscape of toys for children, infatuated adults and turned into a cult object for collectors around the word is celebrating its 30th birthday. By the way, the prices for the figures - for example, "Puffo on Olympia" or "Puffo on stilts" - were given by Alessandra Vitali in a Russian translation of "la Repubblica" at up to 900 euro.
In several ways, these are works of art. "The chocolate egg would have been a great place for life," like "experiencing it from the inside, a little at a time." This was the fantastic dream of Vinchentso Mollik, journalist, who enthusiastically spoke about his passion with the chocolate eggs at the presentation at the exhibition, which was dedicated to the surprise in the chocolate egg. The exposition, held in the Complesso del Vittoriano in Rome, is open until October 24.
The surprises from the chocolate eggs are actually displayed at the exhibit as works of art, dollies, as they're affectionately called. The exhibition began with a demonstration of the creative process: design, plan, films. That was followed by a history of collecting, with a display of the most well-known "children's surprises."
There was a collection of the most interesting samples at the exhibit. According to Mollik, it was like going to Walt Disney world. Collectors attributed the Ferroro confectionary company with creating a "parallel universe, which still remains to be revealed."
Happly hippopotamuses, merry turtles, sharks, vampires and crocodiles, Disney characters, Bugs Bunny and Iron hand, Leoventuras and the latest from the Paleoboys era. A vast company of large and small heroes, figures, the products of the mass culture industry with a profound "sense of form." That was how the surprises were described in a catalog of the exhibit.
In other words, the "children's" marketing gimmick somehow became bigger than the product alone. This product is sold in 60 countries on five continents, with 30 billion chocolate eggs sold over 30 years. And from a previous wish: "To paint, to animate and cheer up the house, but first of all to bring joy into the hearts of children," as William Saliche from the Ferrero group said.
JNews.Co.Il, 9.10.04
archive url: http://cultology.blogspot.com/2004/10/#109852572831611835

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Ben Laden hiding in China.
Ben Laden and az-Zavakhiri, number 2 in "Al Qaida," have been discovered by an American intelligence satellite in the mountains of Zaskar in Xinjiang (northwest China, not far from the borders with Afghanistan and Pakistan), in the Xinjiang Uighur autonomous district, where the majority of the population is Muslim. But this is not all: Washington is supposedly negotiating with Peking to allow a special American unit, which is already stationed in Pakistan, to conduct surprise military operations to capture the two most sought after terrorists in the world. It is conceivable that the capture of ben Laden and as-Zavakhiri could be a trump card, George Bush's "October surprise" on the eve of the November 2nd elections.
This sensational news was published yesterday on the pages of the liberal El Mundo newspaper. The article was entitled, "Ben Laden found in China." The author, Gordon Thomas, a well-known Irish journalist who specializes in issues of espionage and terrorism, cited a "high-level official from the Pentagon." The report contained amazing news in its very first paragraph.
"Last year ben Laden come to an agreement with the Peking regime, according with which he was promised refuge. In return the "Al Qaida" leader guaranteed a stop to subversive activity from the local Muslims (Wiguri, a people of Turkish origin, number up to 5 million, a third of the population of Xinjiang, used to live in Russia before emigrating to China)," reported Thomas. "Last year the Chinese army sent 10,000 soldiers into this district whose mission was to suppress the rebels. After the arrival of Saudi Usama ben Laden to the district, relative calm was established, but local Mohammedans all still have the opportunity to be involved in illegal trafficking of people and narcotics."
"But now the head of 'Al Qaida' and Egyptian Aian as-Zavakhiri risk being caught in their sanctuary, which is located in a Zaskar mountain range district, not far from the Chinese-Pakistan border, in a lake area. If an emergency agreement is finally reached on this between Peking and Washington, then China will hand over to the United States the most wanted terrorist in the world."
This top secret operation would have huge importance for both sides. "The arrest of ben Laden would guarantee Bush's reelection; millions of indecisive votes would get confirmation that the war on terrorism after the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington was fully justified," explained Thomas.
At this stage some officials have emerged from the Pentagon, which explained that it won in this operation with Peking, which always has accused the Wigursky Islamic terrorists of financing and training 'Al Qaida.'
"Bush's new administration introduces China as its new important ally in the war on terrorism. The Asian giant gets the 'most favored nation' status, and that will be followed by contracts for billions of dollars and the accusations of human rights violations will stop," said a high-level official from the American military department. He also added, "Only a few people know about this plan. One may say with almost complete confidence that their number includes Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
The informant also reported that this was not the first time the American government resorted to this sort of maneuver shortly before the presidential elections. For instance, there was the secret agreement with Iran that freed the 42 American diplomats that had been held for 444 days before Ronald Reagan took office.
Ben Laden supposedly arrived in China from Kashmir with 50 "Jihadists." But until now it was impossible to talk openly about his delivery. Thomas was more specific: "Reaching an agreement depends on confidence, and Bush appealed to the Chinese to keep their promise."
Juan Antoni Origi
"La Stampa," 11 October 2004
from "InoPress" web pages
Portal-Credo.Ru, 11.10.04
archive url: http://cultology.blogspot.com/2004/10/#109801585688711431

Religious organization capitulates.
Today in a regular session of Zavodsky district court the local religious organization "Slovo Zhisnni" ("Word of Life") withdrew its complaint against the "Zemskoe obozrenie" newspaper. Church pastor Pavel Taranov explained this decision by unexpected litigation from the Russian Orthodox Church. The subject of the court's investigation was an article "Word of Life: unsuccessful ad campaign," published under the name N. E. Nikolotov, which is a pseudonym for a group of authors, staff of the department for religious education and catechization.
Specifically, the "Word of Life" disputed an opinion of the article's author about this organization basically being pseudo-Protestant and neo-Pentecostal, the "Word" said that no one had the right to use the word "sect" in reference to it or to criticize its activity.
Appearing for the eparchy in court was professor and chair of the sectology department of the Orthodox St. Tikhon humanities university, Alexander Dvorkin. He stated that the "Word of Life was a sect because it recognized itself as such, and today it capitulated without reservation."
Sarbc.Ru, 7.10.04


Word of Life begins to tell the court it is not a sect.
Today a regular court hearing was held in the Zavodsky court to hear a legal complaint by the "Word of Life" religious organization against the "Zemskoe obozrenie" newspaper.
[... gives information from Saratov Eparchy web pages]
Source: Sarbc.Ru, 5.10.04

The Saratov eparchial administration participates in a court investigation of "sects against freedom of speech." On October 5 in Zavodsky district court of Saratov the complaint of a local religious organization, "Word of Life" is being heard against the "Zemskoe obozrenie" newspaper. The Saratov eparchial administration applied to participate in these proceedings in the capacity of third party. Appearing for the eparchy in court is Alexander Leonidovich Dvorkin, professor and chair of the sectology department at the Orthodox St. Tikhon humanities university and author of eight books, including three editions of the book, "Sectology. Totalitarian sects: a test of systematic research."
The position of the eparchial administration will be announced on October 5 in a press conference, which is being held at 11:30 a.m. at 36 Bolzhskaya Str.
The story of the conflict thus far is this: on 27 January 2004 an article "Word of Life: unsuccessful ad operation" was published in the "Zemskoe obozrenie" newspaper under the pseudonym of N. E. Nikolotiv. An expanded version of this text is found on the official web page of the Saratov diocese. A number of positions stated in this article evoked displeasure among the management of the religious organization "Word of Life" and became occasion for court proceedings against the newspaper.
In particular, the "Word of Life" disputed the opinion of the article's author on this organization being, in essence, pseudo-Protestant and neo-Pentecostal, and said that no one had the right to use the word "sect" in reference to it or to criticize its actions. Also evoking the displeasure of the plaintiffs were a number of facts introduced into the article about aggressive and unscrupulous informational policies of the sect in those districts where its offices operated (for example, about the use of an interview with the Metropolitan of Minsk and Slutsky Philaret with the goal of distributing sectarian doctrine).
An individual item of complaint was the introduction into the journalistic text of statistical information on the results of the organization's actions in Sweden, according to which every fourth "Word of Life" adept either made an attempt to commit suicide or was extremely close to this. This example is from A.L. Dvorkin's book, "Sectology: Totalitarian sects -N. Novgorod, 2003."
Taking into consideration that the "Word of Life's" informational policies are directed in large part directly against the Russian Orthodox Church, the Saratov eparchial administration applied to the court to participate in these proceedings. Distribution of the article "Word of Life: unsuccessful ad operation" on the eparchial web pages became part of its work to inform people about the threat from different types of totalitarian sects and destructive cults. The position of the Russian Orthodox Church is such, that in order to prevent an increase in the number of sect victims, it is necessary to inform people about what they can expect from a sect beforehand, rather than find out afterward.
Professor A.L. Dvorkin has also expressed his readiness to participate in the court hearing in capacity of responding advocate's consultant. A similar court hearing (neo-Pentecostal sect against an Orthodox clergyman who personally called that organization a sect) was recently concluded in Novokuznetsk. After weighing the complaint, it was dismissed by the court.
The next hearing of the Zavodsky district court on the "Word of Life" case is October 5th at 2:30 p.m.
Source: Saratov Eparchy.Ru, 4.10.04


Saratov eparchy sectology section: "Word of Life"
"Word of Life": unsuccessful ad operation
On November 25 2003 in the regional edition of "Komsomolskaya Pravda - Saratov," in the "Specifics" column there appeared an open letter from pseudo-Protestants, members of the "Word of Life" neo-Pentecostal organization, to the head of the Saratov eparchy of the Russian Orthodox Church, to the bishop of Saratov and Volsky Longin.
The appeal contained a statement of joy on the occasion of the arrival of Archbishop Longin to Saratov, and assurances of readiness to cooperate with the eparchial administration on good terms. But was this really the case? We turn to the facts.
According to the assessments of well-known religious scholar and journalist Alexander Leonidovich Dvorkin, with the unprecedented expansion of neo-Pentecostal sects, the number of their adherents in Russia has already exceeded 200,000. As with many other religious organizations, the "Word of Life" prefers to recruit young people: minors are more suggestible. A great number of young people arrive from the provinces and literally drown in the whirlpool of the big city; sectarians fish them out and bring them into the sect without particular difficulty.
Neo-Pentecostals have brought a lawsuit against Orthodox clergymen who are trying to withstand this frightful misfortune. Neo-Pentecostals assert that no one has the right to use the word "sect" in reference to them or to criticize their activity because they are recognized as a "traditional Protestant confession." Why are they nonetheless called a "sect"? A.L. Dvorkin gives the following definition of the word "sect": "A classic sect is a relatively small culturally closed religious group (not a religion!), which places itself in opposition to the religions of the country that make up part of the culture." It is considered that neo-Pentecostal organizations have qualified under this definition on more than one occasion.
On the other hand, realizing the shakiness of this position in claims to belong to Bible-Christian, traditional confessions, leaders of the neo-Pentecostals are striving to get recognition from the Russian Orthodox Church so as to further exploit that for advertising, growth and expansion. Here is part of the text of the open letter from "Word of Life" leaders to Archbishop Longin: "As you know, three equivalent branches of Christianity exist: Orthodoxy, Catholicism and Protestantism. We, as Protestants, are aware that there are certain differences between us and the Orthodox Church...." How can one compare the Orthodox Church with the subject religious organization? I note that even if representatives of the neo-charismatic current, which "Word of Life" is regarded as, do consistently call themselves Protestants, or simply "Christians," they do this in spite of the fact that traditional Protestant representatives have repeatedly stated that the "Word of Life" church not only has no relationship to Protestantism, but to Christianity on the whole. Why is there such a vast difference between the views of traditional Protestant and of this religious association as to what is right?
In this day and age, the central neo-Pentecostal organization in Russia is headed by Sergei Ryakhovsky of the Russian Amalgamated Union of Christian Evangelical Faith, which the local Saratov religious organization of Christian evangelical faith, the "Word of Life" church, is a part of. Ryakhovsky chose for himself the role of "chief Protestant" of Russia and the role of advocate for the interests of all domestic Protestants and advertises himself in this capacity in the mass media. Persevering attempts were made to show the Russian traditionality of this organization, which recently came into existence. One example can be cited: on the year 2000 anniversary of the eparchy, the cathedral of the Russian Orthodox Church delivered a "Framework of the social concept of the Russian Orthodox Church" - after this Sergei Ryakhovskiy issued his document with the same corresponding name and with practically identical content, the difference was only that his concept had added the neo-Pentecostals. Most interesting was that Sergei Ryakhovsky introduced a "consultative council of heads of Protestant churches", which did not contain one traditional Protestant confession, but only two pseudo-Christian groups: Baptists and Adventists. Meanwhile, in the opinion of representatives of traditional Protestant confessions, organizations united around the newly appeared "pseudo-Protestant bishop" are representatives of the so-called charismatic "third wave" and do not have any relationship to Protestantism at all. In other words, neo-Pentecostals calling themselves Protestants, both Sergei Ryakhovsky and the leaders of the Saratov offices of the "Word of Life," are deliberately faking it and are trying to create a reputation for themselves as a legitimate, respectable, traditional religious organization, as was said above.
Alexander Dvorkin has cited the given Swedish statistics, according to which every fourth adept of the "Word of Life" either attempted to commit suicide or was on the verge of doing so. We are not able to work with this sort of organization, the renowned sectologist stressed. Besides that, the fact is well-known that unscrupulous religious groups use fortuitous meetings with Orthodox clergy to advertise themselves. Take, for example, the notorious "Aum Shinrikyo" religious organization's widely distributed photograph of Metropolitan of Volokolamsky and Yurevsky Pitiram standing in a line with Seko Asahari, who holds this up as recognition of "Aum Shinrikyo" by the Russian Orthodox Church, and approval of its actions. Along the same lines there is also a little known Japanese guru who went to the Orthodox hierarch at some kind of social reception and asked permission to be photographed with him.
I'll give another example of similar self-advertisement, used directly by "Word of Life." In October 2003, under the grandiloquent, colorful slogan, "National Russian philanthropic 'There is Hope' project" was launched a whole series of tele-broadcasts on the NST-Ren TV channel under a single name. Well-known Russian political figures, athletes, actors, writers were invited to this program, in which a discussion about the Bible and about God was conducted. All this was put across as a most ordinary service with the pastor's sermon, which many saw repeatedly on different channels. And suddenly the Metropolitan of Minsk and Slutsky Philaret, Patriarchal Exarch of all Belorussia, also spoke about faith and about service to God... To me it seems strange, the presence and appearance in a broadcast like this, all by himself, of a hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church; what needs to be understood is this: was the archbishop filmed for this broadcast or not? After repeated viewings of the recording, everything became intelligible: the segment with the appearance of the Metropolitan Philaret was taken from a different interview and plugged into this broadcast. To definitively dispel any doubt I called the Minsk eparchy. I had a telephone conversation with Metropolitan Philaret secretary Father Nikolai Korzhich, who explained to me that the archbishop had never taken part in a broadcast like that, it was none other than an advertising trick. From this it was obvious that it was extremely essential for the neo-Pentecostals that they create the appearance of friendly relations with the Russian Orthodox Church and to obtain recognition for their structure to appear as partners, on an equal level, in dialogue.
Besides that, "Word of Life" often resorts to confessional anonymity, which means not stating the religious affiliation of their preachers on advertising posters, which is a blatant violation of the law "On freedom of conscience and religious associations." Enticing people to their gatherings, they promise the new arrivals mass cures and all possible miracles, speculating in such a way on people's problems and misfortunes. Naturally, nobody has responsibility for unfulfilled promises and for the obviously negligent advertising.
Christian motives are stretched and profoundly distorted by the neo-Pentecostals to the point of unrecognizability. Again we return to the open letter, addressed to Bishop Longin: "In the main things, we are unanimous, but in particular we, same as you, love the Lord Jesus Christ with our whole heart and soul. We believe that the Bible is the living Word of God. We and you both use the Nikeo-Tsaregradsky Symbol of Faith. And finally, both you and we are convinced that every person is in need of Salvation, reconciliation from God and deliverance from sin, which is possible only through the deed of Jesus Christ on the cross." I am not able to find anything of unanimity: "Word of Life" doctrines, like the teachings about the Holy Spirit and His fruits or the teachings of "Jesus died spiritually," JDS for short, are downright blasphemous and offend the religious sensibilities of any Christian.
The preachers of neo-Pentecostalism teach that the presence of God can be felt through anomalous physical manifestation and sensorial shock. For them, all these so-called "contacts with God" come down to physical sensations that lead to emotional agitation and a psychic ecstatic state, where people are not in control of themselves and do not recall what happened to them. Neo-Pentecostal practices as widespread and as often inevitably experienced, like "speaking in tongues," the "Toronto blessing," "Steeped in the spirit," "prayer in the throes of birth" and others, are various means of exerting a destructive effect upon the mind. In which of these things is there a similarity between the "Word of Life" and the Orthodox Church, as is presented in the letter?
We take another excerpt from the letter to Archbishop Longin: "Our confessions combine similar views on many problems of society, and it's essential for us to work together to change the situation for the better. Both you and we are in agreement in praying for Saratov province to be rid of alcoholism, drug addiction..." In this connection, particular attention needs to be directed to the danger that in the near future, centers will sprout up in Saratov to rehabilitate people suffering from drug and alcohol dependency, but which in the same case also serve as points from which the sect recruits new members.
In conclusion, I would like to cite a text from the findings of the International Conference on "Totalitarian sects - threat of the 21st century," which was held in Nizhny Novogord in 2001: "Neo-Pentecostalism can in no event be called either Christianity or a Bible system. This false doctrine, which makes possible the personal enrichment of its "ministers" and the spread of sectarian theory and practices, is rooted in mystic-heathen cults. An organization professing neo-Pentecostalism inherently carries with it a store of serious social and public dangers, and all sound people in our society need to realize this."
Nikolotov, N.E.
Source: Saratov Eparchy.Ru
archive url: http://cultology.blogspot.com/2004/10/#109801577007148479

On the evening of September 28, a scientific-practical conference on "Totalitarian sects, path to destabilization of the North Caucuses region" was held in Stavropol. Participating in the work were Stavropol Krai governor A. Chernogory, representatives of the leading religious confessions of the southern federal district, the Cossacks and the public. Representatives of more than a hundred nationalities reside in Stavropol Krai, with nearly 500 religious communities, they represent almost twenty religious confessions. More than 85% of Krai residents are Slavic people who traditionally practice Orthodoxy; residing in the Krai are also nearly 180,000 Muslims, and there are Buddhists and Jews.
It was recorded at the conference that there existed in the country a harmonious national ideology, as society required, which resulted in the fast-growing influence and significance of religious ideology. The basic opponents of the Orthodox church and of traditional Islam, as named at the conference, were Jehovahs Witnesses and Vakkabites. Conference participants decided to be more active in the social opinion of Krai residents with the goal of information about the religious traditional to the region, Orthodoxy and Islam.
Kavkaz.memo.Ru, 29.9.04
archive url: http://cultology.blogspot.com/2004/10/#109801563704082701

In Tatarstan the discussion continues about the need to convert the Tatar language to the Roman alphabet. The day before, figures of Tatar culture and representatives of society signed an appeal that spoke out against reforming the national language.
In their opinion, conversion of the Tatar language into Roman letters could slam the door on national culture for Tatars. In addition to that was the unavoidable question connected with the financial provisions of reform. This was a republication of academic textbooks, technical re-equipping for editing and typography, but mainly, who would be involved with the teaching of Tatars who lived outside the republic.
Figures of Tatar culture and representatives of society called for special attention to practical matters, which if not resolved would inevitably pose a threat to the unity and integrity of the Tatar people.
Talgat Tajuddin, president of the central clerical administration of Muslims said: Only one third of Tatars reside in Tatarstan. Over two-thirds reside in other republic and in other regions of the RF. Conversion to the Roman is a very lamentable way to tell about the entire cultural life of the people.
Even now study of the native tongue is not so easy. And with the proposed conversion, teaching the native tongue will be even more complicated. Besides that, in the history of our nation the Roman alphabet will always be associated with the cult of Stalin's personality.
All across the Russian Federation the Cyrillic alphabet is used; it has already been accepted by the people. And it works for the cultural dealings for other nations of the Russian Federation. Therefore conversion into Roman script is not at all desirable, absolutely not.
1TV.Ru, 4.10.04
archive url: http://cultology.blogspot.com/2004/10/#109801560253234150

Moscow Muslim youth help children's home.
Muslim youth from Moscow carried out a charitable operation to help a children's home in the village of Salgana, Krasnooktyabrsky district in Nizhegorod province. As Islam.Ru reported, representatives of the Nizhegorod Muslim youth movement "Yashlyar" collected more than 20,000 rubles, along with personal belongings, toys, medicine, literature and souvenirs, and delivered them to the social orphanage in the scope of the "Do something good" project.
Taking active roles in the project were the association of Tatar youth "Yash Yoreklyar," under the Regional Tatar National-Cultural Autonomy of the city of Moscow, the Nizhegorod Muslim youth movement "Yashlyar," representatives of the Tatar Diaspora from various regions of both Russia and abroad, including the USA, Germany and Holland.
As a reminder, at the end of August a delegation of Tatar youth from Moscow, along with the Nizhegorod "Yashlyar" called on the children's home in Salgana for an orientation visit. In their return, the young people also told about the operation to help the children's home and appeared in the mass media with an appeal to all for help.
Islam.Ru, 1.10.04
archive url: http://cultology.blogspot.com/2004/10/#109801555075606207

China tightens control of online games.
Recently the country's authorities created a commission for this, whose mission is to rate the "safety" of Internet games for minors and to make the appropriate recommendations as to their use, reported Itar-Tass.
The group of specialists has already suggested creating a single national club for game fans on the Net and proposed a plan that would use the names of participants on the games Internet server.
The reason for taking measures in this area was the circumstance that many computer games, in the opinion of the Chinese authorities, spread cults of violence, cruelty and amoral conduct in the immature minds of minors.
Webplanet.Ru, 30.9.04
archive url: http://cultology.blogspot.com/2004/10/#109801550406069085

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Boy gave museum elephant bells
SPb. The Russian Ethnography Museum received a gift, several dozen exhibits, bough in ancient Cambodia by a participant of the "Children travelers" expedition.
Of the items given to the museum, many were unique, for example, bronze elephant bells (it turns out that domestic elephants, like cows, tend to get lost), as well as a snake trap, a small stick which they use to plant rice, a small chest in the shape of a three-headed horse, an abacus, carved ornamentation for a boat, a bamboo cradle, and even a vessel for keeping tooth paste. It's also interesting that all these items were usual for Cambodian life in the last century (and in many regions they are no longer in use), but unprecedented in Europe were those bought for the money 7-year-old Sergei Davitie received for shooting a documentary movie about Cambodia and about the expedition which was led by famous Russian traveler Vitaliy Sundakov.
It was no accident that the boy Sergei chose the Ethnological Museum for his gift, after all, he is a pupil at the Children's Ethnographic Center for the museum who knows first-hand how to assemble a collection and how objects are studied. And when he got the chance, he showed his appreciation to his alma mater for the knowledge he obtained.
Nothing to spare.
Everything would have been good with accepting the gifts of appreciation, except for the name of the museum was the Russian Ethnological, which specializes in the peoples and population of our country. The Khmer, the main population of Cambodia, never lived in Russia.
Therefore there is no special corner for the exposition where one can display the articles, they are not in the museum. However, museum director Vladimir Grusman made a Solomon-like decision: at first the gifts will be kept in the reserves, but when they prepare an exhibit dedicated to the traditions of Eurasian cultures, these items will be added to it, as the director elaborated. Then they will again go into the reserves. But there are no items to spare in the ethnological museum. Everything connected with the lives and existence of people is of interests to ethnographers. No Khmer were with us? No sweat. One can compare the articles of their way of life with articles of other cultures and draw some interesting conclusions. So the items boy ethnographer Sergei Davitie brought in will be studied. And it's possible the time will even come when their donor will become a student ethnographer himself.
By the way ...
Old elephants who are doing heavy work in the jungle are very cunning. In the morning, if they don't see their drivers, they gather mud with their trunk and carefully shove it into their neck bells, so they don't jingle. Once that's done, in order to find the elephants, who are hiding in the jungle shadows, the drivers have to waste a lot of time. The elephants start out the day with a half-hour break.
Pavel Miroshnichenko "Delovoi Peterburg" No. 184 of 1.10.2004
Primary source: "Delovoi Peterburg"
Samaratoday.Ru, 3.10.04
archive url: http://cultology.blogspot.com/2004/10/#109731575694308055

Rural musical schools in Kuban get new instruments.
For Teachers Day, village musical schools and schools of art in Krasnodar Krai received a fine gift from the RF ministry of culture and mass communication.
By request of the Culture Department of Krasnodar Krai they were selected to receive new musical instruments: a grand piano, an upright piano and violins. The value of the gift is two million rubles. Incidentally, Kuban rates third in Russia for number of this type of school.
Primary source: "Volnaya Kuban" newspaper
Yuga.Ru, 3.10.04
archive url: http://cultology.blogspot.com/2004/10/#109731573148814895

Sect leader arrested in Novosibirsk.
Konstantin Rudnev, founder of the "Ashram-Shambala" sect had $10 million for the short term. He was arrested the end of last week in Novosibirsk region. This is not the first year Rudnev was the target of a federal investigation, he's wanted all over the country, but it seems that he's been living comfortably in a village, surrounded by his current harem of nine followers, the youngest of which is not yet 18 years old. Very soon, Rudnev, author of a book with the promising name "Put Duraka" ("Fool's path"), will have his day in court, reported the NTV telecommunications company.
The Siberian guru has been detained by the police twice before. The great shaman, "Shri Avatara Muni" himself, whose passport just says Konstantin Rudnev, is the founder of the "Ashram-Shambala" sect. Back in 1999 a court sent him to a psychiatric hospital, but he ran away a month after that.
Konstantin Rudnev organized his sect in the early 1990s, after he was drummed out of the Army, diagnosed as a psychopath. First he headed the Siberian association of Yoga, the Academy of occult science, and only then did he become the founder of the "Ashram Shambala" sect.
For 10 years the Great Shaman drew up his association according to strict hierarchical principles. He himself was at the top. He could be accessed only by close assistants, the middle level consisted of instructors who taught the doctrines at seminars. According to the state prosecutor's information, he had succeeded in recruiting nearly 10,000 fierce supporters of the sect, or, as they called themselves, "sadkhaki."
Before they joined, many sadkhaki had to sacrifice their apartments to the teachers, and they lived in communal dwelling. There they slept for 3-4 hours a day, went to the bathroom only when authorized by the instructor, and learned to drink pure energy. All this was supposed to help them change into people of the sixth race. A report appeared on the sect's web page that people in the Ukraine, in Kazakstan and in Belorussia were interested in the doctrine.
Police found Great Shaman Konstantin Rudnev in a village near Novosibirsk. Now the state prosecutor is accusing the guru of violating personality and civil rights, and is also getting him ready for a new psychiatric check-up.
NTV.Ru, 27.9.04

Over a fool, you need not rant:
Just talk 19 to a dozen with him
and do with him what you want.
Bulat Okujaba

It's been over 10 years since an article appeared in one of the Novosibirsk newspapers about a 22-year-old who "reached integral Yoga, a trend that also includes ... a profound, philosophical study of the meaning of life," and in "searching for the path to salvation," along with two of his instructors, arranged to give lessons in the "Karavan" health company. This young person was called Konstantin Rudnev. The young company manager lamented that people in the majority "were steeped in commercialism and lusted for material goods," and asserted that "Yoga was supposed to help people rid themselves of filth and get closer to the Absolute. In a sequel to the article-advertisement, the newspaper invited all those who were interested to get acquainted with the world "of high endeavors and spiritual freedom." As event subsequently showed, those interested were to get acquainted with more than that.
For a short time the innovative youth and several people from his company organized a series of seminars, for which a charge was made, on the study of "Yoga," the "teachings of Shambala," "healing with Reiki" and "astral karate," which were held in the cultural center, in movie theaters, and even in children's summer camps. Sometimes a massive seminar was given in a theatrical performance using many methods of active influence on the psyche of those present. Among those were K. Rudnev's widely advertised and distributed motivational book "Fool's Path," how to use secret superspiritual instructions, which were accessible only through initiation. To the eye of ignoramuses, the idiotic wisdom hidden behind bluntly pornographic stories about the lecherous escapades of the protagonist (with uncensored vocabulary and pictures to match). The "bestseller" was at first the principle, but not the sole source of the group's income. With the growth of the number of adepts, a number of various "magical" objects appeared: an "unchangeable five-kopeck coin" that guaranteed financial success; a "little bell" that "charged" its possessor with "positive energy"; a "pencil of beauty"; a "pendulum" and much more. It's amazing, but those interested in acquiring all these attributes of a fairy tale hero could do it for a very affordable prince (from 250 to 1,200 rubles.) To replenish finances, gullible adepts could receive a letter of "encouragement": "Brother! You have an open mind and heart which are correctly turning to the true knowledge of Shambala. Send a contribution for a receipt. May the glorious force of light be with you!" And they would send it.
With an increase of those "getting closer to the Absolute," the number of K. Rudnev's adepts grew as well. He declared himself the guru Shri Jnan Avatar Muni, the guru Sotitanandan, in which connection he was the only one who was truly initiated. The number of different signs under which the rascal operated also grew: the "Siberian association of Yoga" (the officially registered name), "Ashram Shambala," society "Olirna," "Sotitanandana-Yoga center and the Academy of Occult Science" were branches in the various cities of Russia and the CIS, not counting the "Esoteric basics of business," the "School and Avitsen" and even its own periodical, the "Tselitel" newspaper, which was published in Kiev. For the nearly ten years the "academies" of this sect were in operation, the number of adepts reached 10,000 people, over which rule a group of about 10 instructors and the "guru." The sect's popularity grew, and for many it came as a total surprise that the Novosibirsk regional prosecutor had initiated a criminal case against K. Rudnev and other sect managers. The case was filed under article 2 39 of the RF criminal code, "Organization of an association that infringes on the personality and rights of citizens." The basis for initiating a criminal case were statements by grieving parents whose children became easy prey for the scoundrel's "initiations." "I ask you to take action in the search for my son, T.D., born 1977," "I request a search for my daughter, A.T., born 1971 and to take measure with regard to the sect's "Shambala School" or the "Ashram" spiritual center. So it was started by only two of them.
The results of the inquiry stunned even the investigators. No one today would be surprised to learn that hiding behind the "Academy of Occult Science" was a fanatical sect that operated a publishing house which employed minors, used sexual coercion and perversion, and engaged in extortion. It's been explained that the director, K. Rudnev, while publicly declaring aversion to material good, had a fabulous income from the "voluntary contributions" of the people he bamboozled (the donations were prudently transferred to the name of Rudnev, Konstantin Shudnev, whose sect name was Shiva Achari). Besides that, the sect leader owned dozens of apartments in prestigious districts of the city which used to belong to sect members who had transferred their real estate to the guru. By what manner did this happen: voluntarily or under the influence of physical and psychological pressure is to be determined, but it's already become clear through testimony from relatives of the "donors" that it was not clear to the people who filled out gift statements (as a rule, after completing course in various schools of the type "Sotitanandana Yoga Center") what they were doing. There were instructors and their harem of adepts, who they mocked relentlessly. They were exhausted from hunger, beaten severely and had cigarette burns on their bodies. They called the sadistic orgy that only the specially initiated went to "tantric" rituals.
Many of the sect's practices were reminiscent of shamanism, but they borrowed individual rituals, like the "black mass." Their participants dress in "eastern" style clothing (sari, etc.) as well as in "shaman" and "Indian" garb. People also wear jewelry the way Indians do.
At the start of the investigation, the sect decreased activity in Novosibirsk and relocated the primary centers to Moscow and Saratov, but their directors disappeared. K. Rudnev, who declared himself, spent some time in a psychiatric hospital, after which he left the city. Whether he's insane or not will be clarified by an appropriate commission. But from the viewpoint of Orthodoxy, not only is he insane, but so are those people who saw the undisguised absurdity, lies, and frequent violence, but could still convince themselves of the "high spirituality" of his leadership, crave fabulous sums to purchase an "unchangeable five-kopeck coin" or a "wizard bell," who sent the gurus letters with photographs of their loved ones to be "charged" for a happy life, and even pled him to take their young daughters for training in the "Altai Ashram" (all actual events). Insanity is the illness of our century, an illness at the foundation of which lies the godlessness, superstition and dense ignorance of the "initiated" contemporary person.
Protopriest Alexander Novopashin, Novosibirsk
Source: Religious Research Center
archive url: http://cultology.blogspot.com/2004/10/#109731570738033157

Saratovans against construction of Mormon center.
A sociological survey of the residents of Saratov about the construction of a Mormon complex in the middle of the city was conducted by the independent marketing company "Komkon-Saratov." More than a half of those surveyed voiced an unfavorable attitude to putting up an administrative-cultural center of the religious association of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints of Russia (Mormons). While 37% of the respondents categorically expressed themselves against implementing the plan, another 24% answered in the negative while the positive came to 10%. Two percent looked on the plan very favorably, while more than a quarter (26%) were indifferent.
The administrative-cultural center of the religious association was to take up more than 1,500 square meters on the square at Gorky St. The deal was made 3 years ago when the lot was leased for 20 years. At the end of July the Saratov diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of the Volga area came out with statements against construction of the Mormon center. Bishop Longin (Korchagin) and Mufti Mukaddas Bibarsov send regional governor Dmitriy Ayatskov and city administration chief Yuri Akseneno a letter with a request to hold up the project so as not to aggravate the religious situation in the city.
Obozrevatel, 27.9.04
archive url: http://cultology.blogspot.com/2004/10/#109731567636545021

High level of interreligious relations in Russia getting protection from incessant attempts to set Christians, Muslims, Jews and Buddhists against each other.
The interreligious council of Russia came forward with an appeal which called for unity among the people of Russia. The appeal said that after the tragedy in Beslan, "our grief does not subside, and at the same time, today we can, with a certain distance, look at what is going on in North Ossetia and on the consequences of this tragedy for all of Russia."
"The terrorist action in Beslan dealt a severe blow to our society, which, for the time being, is still able, for the time being, to adequately meet the ordeal. However the hearts of the people continue to harden. It is with this in particular in mind that the leaders of international terrorism are trying to use a religious factor and play on the political opposition in the countries of the world. It is certain that a high level of international relations in Russia will protect from the incessant attempts to set Christians, Muslims, Jews and Buddhists against each other," said the appeal.
"Today we need more than ever before to be as one. One can remember how in the Middle Ages Christians and Muslims, Europeans, Arabs, Mongol-Tatars and Persians united against a common enemy - the terrorist sect of Ismailitov-assassins. Those criminals, like contemporary terrorists, were admonished with words in vain, in so far as in their dead souls remained only hatred and fear of personal life. The only thing comprehensible in their language was the language of force," noted the religious leaders of Russia.
"No need to fear the justice of terrorists and their accomplices, but if it is needed, then destroy them no matter who or where they are and under which slogan they are hidden. We add that they are outside religion and serve Satan, who dreams of putting humanity into the throes of despair and of seizing world power."
It is incumbent upon the state to destroy terrorist schemes long before they come into existence. However, not only the authorities and law enforcement organs are called upon to fight the evil of terrorism. People in every city and village, especially in regions with a complex political and economical situation, need to join hands in opposing the threat. Religious communities can become one of the centers and organizers of such groups. We continue to consolidate the forces of the faithful so they can support order, care about each other's security, be vigilant in the face of a common threat, and assist the work of law enforcement. Our community has rendered aid to victims and we appeal to all to continue these efforts. For society it's impossible to forget that which has happened. Russia must become different, come to its senses and really be aware of the threat standing before it and unite in the name of the future."
"We will furthermore preach peace and dialogue, and oppose those who try use the feelings of the faithful to serve evil. We hope that and end will be set for the menacing vacuum, devoid of positive awareness of religion, which is so easily filled by extremist ideas. We repeatedly offer government and society a steady hand for mutual beneficial action for the good of the people of Russia, which unites people of many nationalities and faiths," said the appeal.
ABN.Ru, 27.9.04, St. Petersburg
archive url: http://cultology.blogspot.com/2004/10/#109731564213995143

On September 16th, the "Zerkalo Zaporozhya" published an article that told the Zaporozhians about administrative apathy during agitation work being conducted by the "Jehovahs Witnesses" in the Zaporozhsky State Medical University.
Results were not long in coming after publication. The ill-fated booth was immediately removed from the SMU. In the religious media rooms of the Ukraine a report appeared without delay about the conclusion of a contract between the university administration and the Ukraine Orthodox Church on giving instruction in the SMU about "orthodox deontology," which explains what obligations society places on doctors. According to the newspaper's information, the removal of the sect's agitation work was accompanied by an internal scandal in the SMU administration. On September 30, the "Zerkalo Zaporozhya," in an article "Print Autodafe," expressed concern that, as a result of that scandal, the SMU administration could fault innocent people, for example, a worker at the university library, where an agitation sign was displayed about doctors refusing to perform blood transfusions in the future.
Pravoslavie.Ru, 1.10.04
archive url: http://cultology.blogspot.com/2004/10/#109731561708548400

Concert held in Veliki Novgorod on Senior Citizens Day.
A holiday concert was held October 1 in Veliki Novgorod. The "Second youth happens for those who saved first" concert was dedicated to the international senior citizens day. The Municipal Veterans Chorus, a brass band and dance groups participated in the holiday concert. As an IA Regnum correspondent reported with links to the city administration's press office, more than 56,000 retirees live in Veliki Novgorod, according to information from city social services.
Regnum.Ru, 3.10.04
archive url: http://cultology.blogspot.com/2004/10/#109731559254559485

Short film shot about the tourist potential of Stavropol.
The shooting of the film was arranged by the ministry of economic development and trade of Stavropol Krai jointly with Moscow telecommunications TVTs channel, reported YuFO.Ru. The film shows the possibility of the Caucuses mineral water spas both for vacationers as well as investors. It will be show on TVTs in the near future. Negotiations are now in process about showing the film in other electronic mass media.
Regnum.Ru, 3.10.04
archive url: http://cultology.blogspot.com/2004/10/#109731556855809634

Memorial to Dmitriy Rozhdestvensky opens in St. Petersburg.
A memorial to Dmitriy Rozhdestvensky opens 4 October at the central avenue of the Serafimovsky cemetery in St. Petersburg. The memorial in the form of grand piano, created by St. Petersburg academy of art professor Nikolai Fomin, will be established on the grave of Dmitriy Rozhdestvensky, not far from the Serafimovsky cemetery church.
IA "Rosbalt"
KM.Ru, 3.10.04
archive url: http://cultology.blogspot.com/2004/10/#109731554036986875

Sale of new book "Love & sex in Islam" forbidden in Moscow mosques.
Its content is "tacky," reported the Internet page at Islam.Ru. Meanwhile, the book consists of statements made by well-known Muslim theologians in both Europe and Russia. It's compiled of material to help understand mutual relations of sex in Islam. Not so long ago this book was presented at the Moscow International Book Fair. Opponents assert, however, that there is "no sex in Islam."
Regnum.Ru, 3.10.04
archive url: http://cultology.blogspot.com/2004/10/#109731551471137026

No place for "Love and sex in Islam" in Moscow mosques.
The administrations of Moscow mosques, the "Yardam" mosque in Otradn and the Memorial mosque at Poklonnaya mountain refuse to sell the book "Love & sex in Islam," which was recently released by the "Ansar" publishing house and which became an instant sales success both over the Internet and through book stores in Moscow and in other cities. The press called the book a "sensational work."
One of the book vendors at the "Yardam" mosque thought the name of the book was "tacky" and said that "a book of this sort has no place in mosques." However, Muslim interest in the book has grown so much that the book sold itself.
The anthology included a fatwa of a scholarly European committee on fatwa and research, answers and fatwas of the chairman of the Expert committee of the Dagestan Spiritual Administration of Muslims Muhammedrasul Saaduev and Imam of the Memorial mosque at Poklonnaya mountain Shamile Alyautdinov. Uncovering the concept of mutual relations between men and women, the book helps Muslims determine the bounds of what is permissible and what is forbidden in this delicate domain, however the clerical circle apparently does not find it essential to interpret for the faithful issues of intimate ethics.
Islam.Ru, 1.10.04
archive url: http://cultology.blogspot.com/2004/10/#109731548926512800

Cat Stevens bringing America to court.
Islamic religious figure Yusuf Islam, who used to be known all over the world as singer Cat Stevens, gave instructions to his advocate to initiate court proceedings against the government of the USA. This happened as a result of his not being allowed on the territory of that country for suspicion of ties with a terrorist organization. "This is simply a sort of madness," Islam told reporters, when he was first deported from the USA back to England. "Everyone knows that I am involved with charity, and now the authorities have to give an explanation for what happened."
The "United Airlines" jet on which 56-year-old British citizen Yusuf Islam was flying took off from London, bound for the Washington Dulles airport. Approximately two hours before the scheduled arrival, the crew received instructions to change course and perform a landing in Bangor, Maine. Later Islam said that he had never heard the name of the town before. Really, this city is known in America only because horror story writer Steven King lives there.
Everything happened to Yusuf Islam as if it were a bad dream. When the jet arrived in Bangor, where there was no landing strip built for a transcontinental airliner, he was surrounded by FBI agents. Islam-Stevens was taken into custody and interrogated. After that he was sent to Boston, escorted by armed agents, and from there -- to Washington. From the American capital he was sent back to London.
In the late '60s and early '70s Cat Stevens was an idol for millions of people. "Peace Train" has now become a cult song. Stevens' hits and disks continue to be a huge success all over the world, including in America.
For Cat Stevens fans his exit from the music world in 1977 was a real tragedy. Then, more than a quarter century ago, the singer explained that he was drawn to Islam, that he would completely forsake public life and devote himself to religious activity. He founded a starting Islamic school in London and engaged in charity work.
The scandal about Islam's deportation was of a force great enough for Jack Straw, minister of foreign affairs for Great Britain, to bring the issue up at a meeting in New York with head of US State Department Colin Powell. Whether Powell was persuaded by his colleague is not known, but the largest Islamic organizations in Great Britain, as well as in the USA, remain extremely dissatisfied with the explanation of the American authorities.
In Washington an Izvestia correspondent received a statement from the Committee for American-Islamic relations, the largest Islamic organization in America. "Yusuf Islam is one of the most famous and respected people in the Islamic world," said the statement, "For a long time he has been involved in defending peace and he condemns terrorism. This treatment of a Muslim as moderate as Yusuf Islam, as though he were a criminal and a terrorist, sends a signal to the Muslim world: even those who condemn terror can be undesirable persons in America."
In fact, Yusuf Islam repeatedly condemned the terrorist acts of September 11, 2001. He gave part of the many millions in profits from the sale of disks with his former hits to a fund to help the families of its victims. And recently, on his web page, a statement was webbed in which the former singer excoriated the hostage-taking in the school in Beslan. However, as representative of US internal security ministry Brian Doyle stated, the name Islam shows up on a list of people who are not permitted on board American jets because his activities could potentially be connected with a terrorist organization.
State Department Secretary Powell, appearing before reporters in New York, justified the actions of the immigration authorities who did not let Stevens into the USA. But internal security minister Tom Ridge said the information about alleged connections of the former idol of millions with terrorists came from overseas.
Four years ago Cat Stevens was stopped from entering the country in Israel. The local authorities there said that in 1998 he gave financial support to the "Hamas" movement. Stevens-Islam categorically denied this.
The Islamic organizations are asking the US authorities a reasonable question: if Stevens-Islam really in some way is connected with terrorists, then why was he deported out of the country and not charged.
The former singer himself told journalists who met him at the London Heathrow airport that he considered the entire incident utter nonsense. After all, before now he visited the USA repeatedly, with the last visit taking place in May of this year. He said that half of him wants to laugh, but the other half wants to protest.
Izvestia.Ru, 27.9.04, Evgenii Bai
archive url: http://cultology.blogspot.com/2004/10/#109731543763974069

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Kabardino-Balkar Republic. There are religious extremists in the republic, but they are not presently in conflict with the authorities. The KBR Culture Ministry organized a seminar, which was conducted in Nalchik on the issue of religion on September 30. Taking part in it were representatives of government and social organizations from all districts of the republic, educational institution staff, federal inspector Vladimir Trubitsyn, and National Science Academy oriental studies expert Dmitriy Makarov.
Deputy culture minister Arsen Karov gave the principle lecture at the seminar. He reported that in the republic 160 cult ministers received state stipends, and in 2004 the Islamic institute accepted 41 students, 400 children studied at mosques, several hundred at the Orthodox parochial school, more than 30 people were studying Islam abroad, about as many as were in Orthodox seminaries in Russia.
In Karov's opinion, "an Islamic diarchy now exists in the republic." A certain part of the people selected a Muslim leader, an amir, who was not subordinate to the Spiritual Administration of Muslims. They continue to run the shariat court. Religious extremists existed in the republic, noted Karov, "but they are not presently engaging in conflict with the authorities and it's unlikely they would begin."
The fact is that opposition has always existed in Islam, noted Dmitriy Makarov in his report. So it would be impossible to ignore unofficial Islamic movements. He proposed separating the words "jihadism" and "Wahabism" and reported that often adherents of Wahabism themselves condemned terrorism. In Makarov's opinion, it was necessary to create a state structure that was responsible for interaction with religious organizations, "otherwise it would turn out that nobody was responsible for this job." In the north Caucuses, where moderate Salifism [sic] was accepted among the Muslims, the scholar thought that dialogue was necessary so that moderate Muslims would not become adherents of "jihadism," who engaged in terror. He thought that police raids were needed only in extreme cases.
In his turn, "to do away with the bearded men on the streets of Nalchik" was the promise of Alik Shorov, a representative of the KBR Internal Affairs Ministry who spoke at the seminar.
It was with great difficulty that a representative of the Islamic opposition managed to speak, scientific staff member of the Institute for Islamic Research (which the authorities have refused to register) Arsen Mukozhev. He complained about operations by the law enforcement organs, when the police burst into mosques when services were being held, took away young people to parts unknown, and indiscriminately called them all extremists. He stressed that there was no sort of dialogue with the authorities. The opposition representative was not permitted to finish speaking, a time limit was cited, but vice premier Khauti Sokhrokov interrupted and promised that the speaker would now be seriously heard.
Regions.Ru, 1.10.04, Irina Antonova
archive url: http://cultology.blogspot.com/2004/10/#109674702157769190

Interview with Mussa Mukozhev, leader of Muslim community in the Kabardino-Balkar Republic.
IA Regnum proposed an interview with Mussa Mukozhev, leader (amir) of an Islamic community in Kabardino-Balkaria. The community he leads opposes the Spiritual Muslim Administration of the Kabardino-Balkar Republic (SMA KBR) and is considered part of "unofficial Islam." Many members of the community number among the ranks of Wahabists and are adherents of Islamic radicalism. In publishing the interview at hand, IA Regnum is pursuing the goal of showing the complexity of resistance developing today in Islam in the south Caucasus. The given problem, in our view, has a direct relationship to the fight against terrorism and religious extremism which RF law enforcement organs are conducting in this region.
Biographical information: Mussa (Artur) Mukozhev was born in 1966 in Nalchik. He served in the Soviet Army. In 1990 he finished a course in Islamic studies with the Spiritual Muslim Administration, then the Kabardino-Balkar Islamic Institute. He did his practical studies in Jordan. Since 1994 he has been the director of the KBR Islamic Center. Since 1997 he has been Imam-khatyb (preacher) at the mosque in the village of Volniy aul, suburb of Nalchik. This mosque was closed by KBR law enforcement organs in summer 2004. Since 1998, Mukozhev has been director of a Muslim community (jamaat) of Kabardino-Bakaria. He was accused of preparation for and execution of a terrorist act in the city of Pyatigorsk on 8 Dec. 2000, and in the cities of Mineralny Vody, Essentuki and the village of Adygee-Khabl of the Karachaevo-Circassian Republic on 24 March 2001. The case against Mukozhev was dropped by the RF general prosecutor on the basis of art. 2 part 2 of the UPK RSFSR for failure to prove involvement in committing a crime. Appearing before journalists on September 21, the head of the department to combat religious extremism in the Internal Affairs Ministry of the KBR clearly shifted Mukozhev's community from the category of special threat to one of trustworthiness. "In Kabardino-Balkaria there is only one extremist jamaat (community), "Yarmuk," head by Muslim Attaev. It's impossible to put a Muslim who has not committed a criminal act, but who is in opposition to the official religious clerics, on the same plate as bandits. The time has come to establish dialogue and to join hands against these bandits."
Why in Kabardino-Balkaria are there two Muslim leaders and two Muslim societies?
The amir institute itself in Kabardino-Balkaria came from the amorphous Spiritual Muslim Administration. Imams on location did not work with the communities and the people were left to themselves with no control whatsoever and no educational work. There was plenty of room for missionaries and provocateurs. And there were more than a few of those around by the late '90s. To protect ourselves from their influence we created a Muslim community at that time.
Why no mutual understanding with the Spiritual Muslim Administration?
That's simple: the official clerics hurriedly dissociated themselves from 90% of young Muslims and took the position of fighting them. This SMA played to the interests of those in power, by having people beyond the law in the republic. The gains made, which depended on financial infusions from the Center, were in career pride. Fighting mass Wahabism is something for which one can always get money and rank. How can a Muslim community trust the SMA after that?
Who finances your community?
From the beginning we refused the services of missionaries. We know only too well what they do, for instance, which goals certain missionaries in Dagestan pursue. So they just gave everybody to understand that they will not go off the path introduced from outside. With us at home we determine what is better for us. This has proved to be a reliable screen, and so there is practically no outside financing in our community. And the those in power are well aware of this fact. If we occasionally were to receive the least bit of outside financing, then this would be a good argument for the special services to put us out of existence.
When did the resistance take on an open form?
Serious persecution began from the time the community itself came into being. But persecution for religious signs acquired a mass charger in August 2003 when the power structure let Basaev go in Baksan. After that, those in power closed all mosques in Nalchik, Baksan and Chegem. This operation was accompanied by mass arrests. On charges fabricated in advance, 165 people were arrested over a period of 10 or 15 days. All were horribly beaten; some had broken ribs and many received brain concussion and other serious trauma. But the physical destruction was not enough, people were also insulted morally. Crosses were shaved on children's heads in the village of Dugulubgyei. They let Basaev go, some sort of rehabilitation was needed, but they took out their wrath on us.
Who was arrested on what grounds?
They arrested everyone they caught in the mosques. Without an investigation. Then there were two or three dozen people who the Internal Affairs Ministry had on their list of wicked Wahabists, they were arrested at home and searches were conducted. If you got on this list once, then, as far as they were concerned, there was no way you were not a Wahibist.
These lists are often mention in the statements of the high-level functionaries of the KBR. For example, at his last press conference, the president talked about 400 radical Muslims who were found under round-the-clock surveillance by law enforcement organs. According to the president, those in power were prepared to take any measures against these people.
Are you on this list?
I, of course, am. They have me listed as a leader.
KBR Internal Affairs Minister Khachim Shoenov said that "there are no innocent people on this list!" In your opinion, how is this list formulated?
If there is not a single legal document that shows who is a Wahabist or by what indications he may be differentiated from an ordinary Muslim, then, naturally, any embarrassing person goes on the list. In accordance with the principle of the NKVD. This list contains those who perform daily prayer, it has those who do not pray at all, it includes people who have no connection to Islam, it even has street drunks with a criminal past. We know of such people in the city, they "toss down" 5 or 10 rubles of drink in the morning to cure their hangover. The Internal Affairs Ministry lists adherents of Wahabism as especially dangerous. These lists are formulated over a period of several years. And as soon as they are declared, then they refuse to acknowledge an error. For the minister of internal affairs that would be the equivalent of acknowledging personal incompetence and the incompetence of a huge staff of operatives by whose information these lists are compiled. That would be to acknowledge the illegality of these actions. Therefore they stand by them. Therefore they are irresponsible. Therefore all our attempts at dialogue with the authority break down.
In what way has being on the list of radicals affected your life?
Being on the list changes nothing for me, as long as I am well disposed to regular searches in my home or on the street by men carrying automatic weapons, and as long as I've gotten used to constantly being taken into police custody so they can fill out their regular operative reports. As long as I'm ready to be arrested when they like for whatever they like in connection with the most horrible crimes, without explanation or charge. As long as I consider it normal for the mass media to splash my name about with whatever label they like. My little girl was born when I was in the "White Swan" prison in Pyatigorsk, and they accused me of committing terrorist acts in Pyatigorsk, in Karachaevo-Circassia and in the Caucasian Mineralny Vody. All those accusations were dropped. How many times did we try to explain to the powers-that-be that if none of the accusations against us stick for so many years, perhaps one might consider that we are innocent?
Over the past few years we have become more and more convinced that Muslims do not have rights. None. We have tried and as of now are still trying to resolve our problems with legal methods. There are a hundred of our statements in the KBR prosecutor's office, but no reaction so far. Last week a discussion occurred between me and Ketov (KBR prosecutor) and Shogenov (Internal Affairs Minister). I asked Shogenov, "When will you get Basaev's group - one man, one wounded and a woman, you said that they brought their Muslim helpers into the republic, and began purging the faithful. Consequences have shown that they brought in their police helpers. I do not ask why you do not conduct a purging operation on the police, but why do you not apologize to hundreds of innocent Muslims who were humiliated by your department?" Shogenov said nothing. At the same time, when I asked the prosecutor why no attention was being paid to any of our statements, after all it's a clearly flagrant violation of human rights, Ketov cited the devastating argument, "The police made a mistake, and you managed to take advantage of it."
But in Kabardino-Balkaria Basaev was being helped not only by the police but by other well-known helpers, who just ranked among the Islamic extremists.
Yes, but the Internal Affairs Ministry also was well aware that these people two years before the event in question were expelled from our community. We forbade them even to enter the mosque. The only place that lets them in the mosque of the Spiritual Muslim administration. This year our community developed its own immunity. We will not wait for the Internal Affairs Ministry or the FSB to discover potential terrorists and gangster within our ranks. We'll expel them ourselves.
According to the official position of the authorities, you are the head Wahabist, an illegal amir of Kabardino-Balkaria. From your point of view, who are you?
Let's begin with the fact that Wahabism is a political term. In the Soviet era there was fundamentalism, it stopped being relevant, and was replaced by Wahabism. And it still is losing relevance. There is extremism and there is terrorism, but there is no Wahabism. The circumstance of my life turned out so that I got an Islamic education in Nalchik, that is why I went to do field work in Jordan. I, of course, am not a Wahabist, but an ordinary Muslim who believes in and worships Allah. But when the order was received to declare me a Wahabist, then there was another order, and they declared me a terrorist.
You were accused of an attempt to overthrow the constitutional powers to create an Islamic republic.
Never, not in a single one of my statements, and especially not in any sermons have I said anything like that. This is libel. From my podium I talk about the faults of contemporary society that Muslims ought not to be prone to. Even by greatly stretching it, it's impossible to say these sermons are calls to separatism or extremism. We consider our life goal to be service to Allah, our goal is to live and die Muslims. We preach Islam, but forcing our beliefs on someone? God forbid! In the mosque I read all sermons in the Russian language, as are the lectures in the Islamic Center. The Russian language is understood by everybody, especially the agents of the special services. We really look at things. And we understand that we live in a Russian state. This is an historically formed fact.
The extremist jamaat "Yarmuk" talked about readiness to carry out military missions in connection with the requirements of jihad on the territory of Kabardino-Balkaria. How do you rate this statement?
The law enforcement organs know very well - it's another thing whether they want to admit this or not - but they know very well that I never have had any connection whatsoever with the "Yarmuk" republican community! They're not able to get "Yarmuk," so they get whoever is handy. Which again is the ordinary Muslim. It's regrettable that the leadership of the power structures do not recognize what they are creating. They are driving Islamic society into a dead-end. Judging from their actions, one can say they are the ones who want to unleash a war.
What does "unleash a war" mean?
War in the most direct sense of the word. You see, they've now declared four or five hundred people to be outside the protection of the law. And for now the treatment of these people includes powerful, lawless acts, so all the more people are losing faith in the possibility of legal methods in restoring their right, and are quite able to turn to self-defense from the authorities using the same methods they are. At that point the community is not under control of Muslims.
Do the military operations with attempts to arrest members of the "Yarmuk" group in Chegem and in Khasan somehow affect the Muslim community?
The community is affect by absolutely everything, even including the anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks in New York.
In what way?
Elementary - arrests by the police, interrogations, humiliation and searches. How can one stay calm when year after year operatives come to your how and say, "We understand this is ridiculous, nevertheless, where were you on September 11th?" I don't think this operative came on his own, he was sent.
During the recent excursion by Basaev to Ingushetia, the evening when everything had only just begun, the operatives were already checking us out. We were ready to be arrested because the authorities said that 200 of our people participated in the attack on Ingushetia. We were in shock: how could it be that our people were there and we knew nothing about it? The information, of course, was not verified. But the next day the police conducted a raid in the village of Sarmakovo. They searched several buildings and did not find anything. Because it was harvest time, everyone was in the field, only one of the young Muslims was in the village. They grabbed him, brought him out of the village and beat him. With broken ribs, broken nose, cracked skull and torn clothing the man walked home through the whole village. What do you think he was feeling at the moment? They brought him to us and asked what to do. We, in turn, persuaded the people to suppress their anger and resentment, to swallow the insult and to write a statement to the state prosecutor. They were concerned. No reaction. You want more facts? Please, Internal Affairs agents beat the guard of the Volny aul mosque, a sick boy, who needed a complicated neurosurgical operation with trepanation of the skull. He said, "Don't hit my head, I might die," but they beat him with the words, "We'll kill you like a dog." In reply the guy wrote a statement to the state prosecutor, the prosecutor declined to initiate a criminal case. No basis.
The Muslims of Kabardino-Balkaria have been deprived of all rights, civil, constitutional, all rights in general. The mosques are closed. Beatings, insult and humiliation have become the rule. Quite a few have been let go from work. Usually they ask the people they arrest where they work, and the children reply honestly. The day after an agent visits the boss and tell him to get rid of the Wahabist or he will have problems. The boss sends for the guy and tells him, "Sorry, I don't need any problems, you're fired."
How do the people react?
Everyone's waiting.
Waiting for what?
It's hard to say. We forbid speaking out on this topic. Because any statement from Muslims, even if it is one of despair, will be perceived by the power structure as a threat to existing authority, and begin repression. There are many examples of this. Therefore it's quiet. Something's in the air. We've already seen something of life, and we know nothing good will come of this. My faith permits me to bear arms only in two cases: for Faith and for Homeland. They say in the community that those in power have started killing everyone on the list. A week ago at an assembly of the Muslim community in Chegem the head of the Chegem district said in the presence of 150 people, "There is no more democracy!" If I were to be attacked, then I would defend myself, like anyone else. We're in a state of war. And every improper action on the part of the authorities prompts children to feel that they will not get justice in this world. That means those who fight get rights. What this means for us, we know only too well. Those who provoke, once it begins, vanish, like what happened in the neighboring region, so their children will be safe. People suffer.
Someone profits from war in a region. They brought the children into the Chegem ROVD for interrogation and told them, "Why aren't you armed? You'll never be a shakhid (martyr of faith), arm yourself and go to the woods!" If this is not open provocation, what is? And these offended young people come to us for counsel. What do you tell them? Have patience. We advise with examples from the life of the prophet Mohammed. We persuade them to act in accordance with the law, and to go to the state prosecutor. Some day. None of them had any faith in the law to begin with. You sit and think, will this be the first mountaineer to fall? Each time it gets increasingly difficult to reassure them. Even if they fall, we don't stop and don't become afraid. Muslims are always close to death. We see what is happening in Chechnia. We don't want that for our people. We only want to have the chance to freely worship Allah in the mosque without being beaten or killed. But this is impossible when all branches of power are in agreement. The constitutional court does not care that the constitution is being violated before its eyes, nor does the state prosecutor care about law and order. The minister of internal affairs routinely lets in bandits who protect his staff while fighting peaceful Muslims. Kick them all out. Perhaps wise people are taking their place? They open the mosques to the community is not forced to semi-legally pray in the rural mosques. They get rid of the list of Wahabists and terrorists. And those in power turn their zeal against the present-time enemies. But we live in another time. Therefore those who are waiting, putting it mildly, are uneasy.
IA Regnum, 29.9.04
archive url: http://cultology.blogspot.com/2004/10/#109674699222001413

St. Petersburg Muslims can learn to read the Koran through old Tatar language.
In St. Petersburg work began on the annual sort-term course on the old Tatar writings, the organizer of which is the "Nur" Islamic society. As "Nur" president Mukhlis Zaripov told Islam.Ru, the six-week course is part of the educational program in which pupils can also master the basics of the Arab language and learn to read the Koran, i.e., the old Tatar language uses Arab characters.
The educational course was one of the reasons for the creation of the "Nur" society more than 15 years ago. Today, besides education, the society also has a goal of familiarizing the residents of St. Petersburg with the history of Islam and Islamic culture.
Islam.Ru, 29.9.04
archive url: http://cultology.blogspot.com/2004/10/#109674695939845472

Islam, victim of a certain new religion.
The fight with terrorism is a fight for the minds of people, said the President of Russia at a meeting with the leaders of Russian religious denominations. And religious activity that supports the fight with terrorism, in its turn, called upon the citizens of Russia not to vent their wrath against terrorists against representatives of one or another denomination. Commentary by Egor Kholmogorov.
Terrorism has neither nationality or religion. This sentence is so frequently repeated that perhaps it already is so tiresome that most people don't believe it. Verification itself of the matter is not simple, either. Terrorists who "have no nationality" usually are natives of one specific region. And when they can trumpet anything over the airwaves, they usually voice one or another of the widely known religious formulas shrilly. As a result, all calls to the contrary, the police give increased attention to natives of Chechnia, and it has become all the more uninviting for women in hijabs, who are usually immigrants from Arab countries, to travel on the Moscow metro. And sometimes a terrorist can be right next to you. The usual mode of dress for a girl with a trace of a southern appearance never calls for great suspicion as long as there is no explosion.
At times our stereotypes play the most foolish role in protection from terrorism. That terrorists have neither nationality nor religion is a lie. At the same time one can rightly say that they have neither age nor gender nor height nor eye color. But why did it happen that in the last half century, Islam turned in the eyes of the half the world from a respectable old religion into a bogey man? Why does the word "shakhid," which is Muslim for "martyr of faith," now more than ever used to mean a suicide bomber? Really, who loses more from all this than Islam does?
In a conference with journalists Patriarch Aleksiy II expressed the opinion that for terrorists come from sincere believers, but who are young people who have strayed from the right path. But weren't there sincerely believing young Muslims before? Why did they not take the path of senseless brutality. And which of them now has strayed from the path? Today Islam is another victim of certain new religions or sects, which take refuge under the green flag and do business which the Koran frankly forbids. This has historical precedent.
A terrorist sect of assassins also arose, formally under the Islamic banner, in the 11th century in Iran and Syria, brutal murderers who wreaked havoc in the Near East for one and a half centuries. Assassins not only pursued their own goals, but also readily sold their services to anyone who wished to punish rival leaders. The combined forces of Muslims, Christians and Mongolian heathens were needed to stop and dispel the sectarians. And the present situation had similarities. The terrorist groups who say they're fighting for Islam have no right to call themselves Muslims any more than the assassins did. If they are given the opportunity to develop, then they will into a new religion, very dangerous and not very similar to Islam. There was a vast difference between those who practice terrorism and call themselves Muslims, and normal traditional Muslims. This does not alleviate responsibility of the Muslims of Russia and of the world for counteracting terrorism in the Islamic environment, but puts responsibility on society in general.
If we confuse religious terrorists with the religion of Mohammed, then we risk pushing those who simply want to follow the precepts of the faith into the ranks of murderers.
RadioMayak.Ru, 30.9.04
archive url: http://cultology.blogspot.com/2004/10/#109674693652661249

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