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RUSSIA and Islam

The war against Iraq has not endeared the US to the Islamic world, and it is assumed that the war in Chehnya has had the same consequence for Russia. However, Russia has been making a concerted attempt to promote relations wish Islam, described in March 2003 issue of Pantologue. put out by the Eurasia Research Group. It describes two conferences, one held in Moscow in June 2001, the other in Baghdad in September 2002. Prominent in both was Vladimir Zhirinovsky, vice-chairman of the Russian Duma and a vitriolic and foul-mouthed critic of the US. The scholarly world was represented by people like Alexander Dugin, author of The Principles of Russia's Geopolitical Future, Thinking According to Space; unlike the US, Russia takes geography very seriously. The chairman and keynote speaker was Gennady Selenzev, chairman of the Russian Duma. There were Islamic leaders from various countries, including Talghat Tajuddin, Supreme Mufti of Russia and the European CIS. states (the exact extent of which was not stated). The general theme of the coference was that Islam is a reasonable, peaceful religion, and that is has been distorted by the Muslim Brothers, Hasan al-Banni, Wahabism, Salafyism, the Pakistani Tabliq sect and the Taliban movement.

At the Baghdad conference Zhirinovsky made a wild speech, repeatedly calling the US "whore" and referring to Clinton's sex exploits in extremely un-WAIS language. Speaking in Baghdad in September 2002,he cried: "Bush, you will never win! This is your final defeat! Napoleon lost at Waterloo, Hitler lost the battle for Berlin. You will lose Baghdad. Baghdad is your grave". It was the most crude and vulgar speech I have ever come across. Saddam Hussein must have loved it. I wonder what Zhirinovsky is saying now. Moral: Beware of false prophets.

Ronald Hilton - 5/11/03