Russia-Islamic World Strategic Vision Group Meet in Saudi

“The role of Russia has grown noticeably … This will certainly positively affect the influence of the Islamic factor on world politics”

UN to discuss Saudi interfaith plan

The Arab News reports on the recent “Russia-Islamic World Strategic Vision Group” meeting in Jeddah:

Russia renewed its commitment to stronger ties with the Muslim world, vowing respect for religious values and a stronger voice for Islamic nations on the global stage at a forum with Muslim leaders here yesterday.

Russia was represented mainly by Mintimer Shaimiyev, the President of Tatarstan:

“One can say that Russia has clearly defined its strategic path in the Muslim East. It has become a natural partner of the Muslim world…During the years of Perestroika, Russia’s positions in the Islamic world considerably weakened. Now the role of Russia has grown noticeably … This will certainly positively affect the influence of the Islamic factor on world politics.”

The buzzwords of the conference appear to be “multipolar world” and “dialogue”. All sounds very nice, but what does that mean? Din Syamsuddin, General Chairman of Muhammadiyah and Indonesia’s representative, gives us an idea, as reported by ANTARA:

Din Syamsuddin…said that the world deterioration was inseparable from secular system which neglected and negated religious values. The deterioration could happen just because of application of liberalism, liberal democracy and culture.

The worst condition is due to the fact that the super power expand the wing of its hegemony to other countries to adopt its liberal systems in the world.

Therefore, according to Din, such a new world movement functioning as an alternative to the deteriorating tendency was required. Otherwise, the world civilization would transform into the worst condition.

Din called for a “middle way”, which would be neither radical nor liberal.

Also present was the ubiquitous Russian Orthdox spokesman, Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin:

According to him, the most important thing is that “we share a lot in common in our views on the family and society, as well as the place of religion and good morals in their lives.”

The other strong challenge is an attempt to induce believers, including by means of some models of “interreligious dialogue”, to refuse their identity and traditions, introduce liberal reforms into their beliefs, “privatize” religion and recognize the monopoly of secular values in the social sphere, Fr. Vsevolod said.

“Recently, both Orthodox and Moslems, are being taught and tutored too often: abandon your “superstitions”, recognize the supremacy of the secular right and secular values, and you will be a promoted student of the Western society,” Fr. Vsevolod said.


Fr. Vsevolod called for mutual support of inter-religious peacemaking initiatives, in particular, the Russian proposal to organize a consultative interreligious council under the auspices of UN, and the initiative of Saudi Arabia’s King to develop the interreligious dialogue, as well as measures to prevent hurting believers’ feelings proposed by the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

Shaimiyev also brought a message from President Medvedev:

“….I am also convinced that the implementation of the Russia-proposed idea of forming a consultative council of religions under the UN aegis will help strengthen the moral principles of world politics, facilitate deeper interconfessional communication and, in a broader context, promote the dialogue of civilizations…The illusion of the unipolar world is becoming a thing of the past in front of our eyes. This strategic forum can contribute significantly to the search for ways to make the situation in the world healthier and to attain a new level of global partnership. I am convinced that Russia’s active interaction with the Islamic world will help build a fairer system of international relations, where the factor of force will finally stop playing the role of a universal instrument to settle all emerging problems.”

It doesn’t require much brains to translate what’s really going on here: “unipolar world” means the USA and the West; “multipolar world” and “dialogue of civilizations” means a Russian-Saudi alliance against it; “measures to prevent hurting believers’ feelings” means a law against blasphemy; “views on the family and society” means opposition to gay rights (and probably women’s rights too).

The conference also announced a special session at the UN:

The United Nations has decided to hold a special session of the General Assembly at the level of world leaders in New York on Nov. 12-13 to discuss the interfaith dialogue initiative taken by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah. This was announced yesterday by Faisal bin Muammar, secretary-general of King Abdul Aziz National Dialogue Center while addressing the Russia-Islamic World Strategic Vision Group at the Jeddah Conference Palace.

…Muammar said cultural and interfaith dialogues were essential in order to promote world peace. “King Abdullah has rejected the idea of a clash of civilizations and urged intellectuals to adopt the principle of dialogue and mutual understanding. He has agreed to establish an international center for cultural dialogue and cooperation in Poland,” he said.

Muammar emphasized the need to promote the values of love, tolerance, moderation, and fight extremism, prejudice and hatred that often lead to conflicts and terrorism. “All religions teach noble values and emphasize love and peace. They insist their followers be trustworthy, tolerant, kind and chaste. All these values shape the behavior of their followers, bringing goodness and peace to other members of society,” he said.

Of course, “love, tolerance and moderation” have long been synonymous with the Wahabi regime in Saudi…

One Response

  1. You are reading too much into this.

    ONe doesn’t have to be a religious extremists to see that modern soceity is pushing religion out of everyday life and that it’s right and proper for all people of faith to try to re-assert their traditions and morals.

    Still, I agree that this is more political/geopolitical that truly religious.

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