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Ukraine has provided all the civil rights and freedoms for the Muslims—Sheikh Said Ismagilov

Ukraine has provided all the civil rights and freedoms for the Muslims—Sheikh Said IsmagilovThe Mufti of the Spiritual Administration of Ukrainian Muslims "Ummah", Sheikh Said Ismagilov in the interview to the news agency “Vector News” speaking about the life of Muslims in Ukraine, Islamophobia, attitudes to war and shared his vision of the future of the Crimea.

- It is known that in the Eastern part of Ukraine there are the representatives of Russian Islam, on both sides of the fence. Were there people among the Ukrainian Islamic organizations, who supported the LNR and DNR?

- Officially, no one has declaired that we support these self-proclaimed territorial entities. But unofficially there are those who support them. Those, who already call themselves spiritual administration of the Muslims in Donbass region. There are several leaders who claim to be "the mufti of DNR" or "the mufti of Donbass", as they call themselves. And they are trying - at all cost - to settle on these occupied territories and to assume the role of leader of the Muslims. Although no one has officially declared that "we are standing on this side." It turns out to be quite an obscure situation. On the one hand, people appear under these flags, next to the main actors of the secessionist entities, and on the other hand, they don’t utter any official declarations. It seems to be a kind of a tricky double game.

- You are a famous representative of liberal Islam. How do you feel about the war?

- My attitude towards the war is determined by the attitude that all the Muslims should have. Despite the fact that there is a misconception that Islam is a militant religion, it is not more belligerent than any other religion in the world. For example, I can say that the Muslims didn’t start the two world wars. Those which were the largest and the most tragic ones. But Islam honestly admits that the war is an integral part of human life. It just often happenes that people resolve conflicts among themselves with the help of the arms. And so, Islam regulates on which side the faithful should be if a conflict occurs. Should they be soldiers or must they be pacifists? If Muslims are in the army, how they should behave? Actually, Islam is a religion that regulates everything, including the behavior of a Muslim soldier on the battlefield.

For many, it is surprising, for example, that the Prophet Muhammad (the founder of Islam) while sending the armies to battle, gave them a clear instruction: how they had to fight and what behavior was prohibited in the military situation. He said: "Fight only with those who fight against you. Do not fight with peaceful people who do not take up arms against you. " It is forbidden by him to kill women, children, old people, the peasants, who work in the field.

He forbade to ravage gardens and crops. He has forbidden to touch the places of worship of any religion. By these orders, he explicitly regulated how the Muslims have to act in the case of war. So being the Mufti, I am in the framework of these regulations.

If the war is going on, it is necessary to protect themselves, as the Prophet Muhammad said. The life, honor and property of a Muslim is inviolable. Muslim man not only should, he is obliged to defend himself, his children, his wife and the country. Modern Muslim theologians say that if your country was attacked then you, as the citizens of this country, are obliged to protect it. Ukraine didn’t attack anyone. It is an obvious fact that Ukraine was attacked. Therefore, we - as the country's Muslims, as people, whom Ukraine gave every opportunity to freely profess and preach Islam, gave all the civil rights and freedoms - must participate in the collective defense of our common Motherland. Therefore, I understand, and it's close to my heart, that the Muslims of Ukraine are protecting our country.
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