Ukraine crisis in revenge for Russia's position on Syria
Tragic events in Syria touch feelings of all the Muslims in the world. Yet, the information presented by the mass media is quite contradictory. Where is the truth? What is going on in Syria? Is it a civil war or a meaningful external aggression? IslamReview discusses this with the prominent theologist from Syria Tawfiq Ramadan al-Bouti.
- Dr. Tawfik, you have been to Tatarstan many times. What do you think about the people who live here? Could you share your opinion with us?
- In the name of Allah the Compassionate, the Merciful. All praises be to Allah. Peace be upon the Prophet Muhammad, his family and his followers!
I am very grateful to you for this opportunity to talk to the Tatarstan people who I know and love a lot. I happened to visit this wonderful place rich in its cultural diversity a few times. Various people live together in peace despite they follow different religions.
For me, Tatarstan looks like a reduced copy of Syria. We have a lot in common. First of all, this refers to the fact that no matter what religion the Syrians belong to (whether they are Muslims, Jews, Christians, etc.), they live in peace together too. Secondly, Syria is also polyethnic. Arabs, Kurds, Turks, Circassian and people of other nationalities live in our country. Regrettably, some foreign forces attempted to split Syria with their mercenary motives. Praise to Allah, their plan went down the drain. Obviously, we are all different, but this does not mean we are fighting with each other because of our differences. We do not want to make someone believe in what we believe ourselves.
Peaceful co-existence is common good. It helps to learn more about representatives of other faith and nationality. This is one of Islam values and it implies cordiality and co-operation within the society.
- Russian mass media extensively discusses the nature of the conflict in your country. Could you explain it to us from your point of you? What is going on in Syria? Is it a civil war or a meaningful external aggression?
- This is a current problem. Only those who live in Syria know the situation the best. International coalition against Syria was not spontaneous. I am sure that what we have now is the result of a very well planned project run by the external forces. These forces are presented by both the Arab oil producing countries and the Western powers.
It all started with fueling an internal problem in Syria. At the moment, there are about 80 countries involved in the conflict. Some of them publicly provide the rebels with military support. The position of the US, France and Great Britain is quite demonstrative… Also, the countries of the Persian Gulf including Saudi Arabia do not stand apart. One week before the president of Egypt Mursi was overthrown, he publicly promised to send militants to Syria. Even the Libyan government which is hardly able to maintain its own power in the country does not hesitate to send weapon and their people to fight in Syria. It is no secret that citizens of the former Soviet Union arrive in great numbers in Syria. Turkey is the main source of support for the rebels and the bridge for transporting heavy equipment to Syria.
The militants commit attacks on objects indispensable to the survival. For example, they destroyed electricity production factories, hospitals, mosques, temples and churches. The biggest Canadian pharmaceutical factory “Tamiko” was ruined. The fourth biggest cancer treatment hospital located in Aleppo was seriously damaged. Besides this, the militants hit the oil and gas supply lines and power and electricity systems. There are transport movement disorders.
The undamaged parts of the Aleppo factories were removed to Turkey. Moreover, the militants used women and children as a human shield. All these facts have been recorded. Does it look like a civil war?! The response is apparent.
The Syrians have shown their disgust over the current disturbances by taking part in a vote and supporting Bashar Asad. It is worth pointing out that this was recognised by all the international news agencies, no matter what attitude they had toward the political regime in Syria.
The fact that the Western countries (France, Great Britain and Belgium) did not allow Syrian citizens residing abroad to participate in the elections perfectly illustrates the extent of foreign intervention. Apparently, this is beyond diplomatic rules.
- Can the conflict in Syria potentially have some impact on Russia?
- The situation in Syria influences Russia in the following way. First of all, Russia exercised its veto power when the unfair decision against my country was made. The Russian position corresponds to the international law standards of justice.
However, the Russian position was unpopular with the Western states which aim at controlling other countries and nations within the unipolar world. Russia demonstrates that it wishes to stop Western hegemony because all the nations should control their life by themselves. This caused a lot of problems for Russia as far as the situation in the Ukraine is concerned. Internal conflicts in the Ukraine are fueled by Western countries on purpose.
Secondly, Russian stability with regard to its position formed some kind of states junction which are against the American hegemony. These countries are Latin American states, BRIC and some others. So I think that in some respect, the Syrian crisis led to positive outcomes for Russia. It helped your country to restore its status as a counter balance power.
- What do you think about some Islamic public figures’ declaring jihad in Syria and calling to fight there? Yusuf al-Kardawi is one of the examples.
-With regard to such fatwas, I should say that apparently, some of the sheikhs have turned into powerful tools used by the West to achieve their goals. These sheiks do not care about devastating consequences of their fatwas which will lead to massive bloodshed. The person you mentioned produced the fatwah to kill one third of the Syrians and he does not find anything bad about it.
In addition, these sheikhs were among those who sang praises of Asad. Yet, they turned round and now have a completely opposite opinion. When the operation against Syria started, they stopped praising the Asad regime and started to accuse and curse him. This is the matter of conjuncture. We do not know why jihad in Syria is compulsory. Why is it compulsory in Syria? Why is it not compulsory in Palestine or Jerusalem? The sheikhs who declare jihad do not make it clear for us.
-Islam is the religion of peace. However, some young Muslims prefer to go into extremes. What would you recommend ordinary Muslims in order to avoid the harmful impact of the extremists who are covering under Islam principles?
- There exist some reasons for the young joining the extremists:
a) lack of knowledge about the Islamic law and the principles of encouraging virtue and preventing vice. Some sheikhs take advantage of people’s lack of knowledge;
b) motivation that extremists use to recruit new followers. This is related to the lack of knowledge which I have already mentioned. For example, extremists promise their followers that God will be pleased with the acts of terror which they perform.
I would suggest everyone not to listen to radicals’ pledges. It is essential to study Islam and culture so that you are able to distinguish right from wrong and realise that Islam as it is has nothing to do with the current events. Dirty plays of some sheikhs do a lot of harm. Opposition leaders who tend to work for external political forces are eager to take advantage of this.
Enemies of Islam have tried to derogate our faith for many centuries. But it was all in vein. Look at the way the terrorists act. While committing crimes, they pronounce the sacred words: “Allah is Great!” This practice coupled with the corresponding coverage of their activities in Western media created the image of fear and hatred which is difficult to overcome. There appeared a big gap between Islam and the West.
At the moment, they fight against Islam under the name of Islam. Instead of the Prophet’s, peace be upon him, words: “Bring joy, do not frighten”, ill-wishers say: “Frighten and do not bring joy!” Instead of following the principle “Make things easy, do not make them difficult”, they say: “Make things difficult and do not make them easy!” Instead of citing words of Allah: “And We have not sent you but as a mercy to the worlds”, they say: “We have brought you massacre.”
Muslims realise that terrorism has nothing to do with Islam. It was introduced by enemies of Islam to destroy the religion. It is high time we put our positive efforts together in the fight against all forms of terrorism.
For your reference: Dr. Tawfiq Ramadan al-Bouti is a notable Islamic theologist, vice dean of the Sharia faculty at Damascus University. He is a son of an outstanding Muslim scholar Mohamed Said Ramadan Al-Bouti who was killed in March 2013 in a bomb explosion (the explosive device was set off by the suicide bomber when Mohamed Said Ramadan Al-Bouti was teaching at the mosqu). Overall, 49 people including the son of Tawfiq Ramadan, were killed). Tawfiq al-Bouti graduated from the faculty of Sharia of the Damascus University. After this, he studied the Arabic language for some years at this university. He was teaching Islamic studies in secondary and sharia schools of Damascus in 1972-1990. Tawfiq Ramadan al-Bouti did his Master’s degree at the Beirut University in 1993. Some years later he passed his PhD in Islamic law and its principles at the faculty of Sharia at Damascus University. He was the head of the Islamic law faculty during several years. Dr. Tawfiq Ramadan al-Bouti took part in various conferences and seminars in Kuwait, Yemen, Malaysia, France, the USA, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Oman. He was the visiting professor in Indonesia, Nigeria and Yemen.
Interviewed by Aidar Zinatullin