“It was a well-orchestrated provocation, but we can not talk about inter-religious enmity, especially between Orthodox Christians and Muslims.” Meanwhile, an imam has been killed as well, so it looks as if this “inter-religious enmity” is upon them regardless of their wishes. And while Feofan’s sentiment, “We can not blame Muslims, we can not judge people by individual incidents,” is a common one, it is a bit out of focus, just as it is when the Islamic supremacist proponents of the Ground Zero mosque hotly insist that Muslims as a whole cannot and must not be made to bear “collective responsibility” for the 9/11 jihad attacks. In reality, no one with any sense is blaming all Muslims for anything that any individual Muslim has done; the problem lies in the Islamic texts and teachings that are used to justify such acts of violence. There is ample justification in the Qur’an, which calls upon Muslims to fight Christians until they “feel themselves subdued” (9:29), and the Sunnah, in which Muhammad tells his followers to offer non-Muslims conversion or subjugation, and to go to war with them if they refuse both, for attacks such as this one. Muslims who oppose such attacks need ultimately to confront the existence of these Islamic teachings and work honestly to blunt their force, but non-Muslims need immediately to recognize that this is not being done within the Muslim community now, and to make a realistic appraisal accordingly, and take what steps must be taken to defend themselves and their way of life.
“Attack on Christians in Russian Caucasus,” by Nina Achmatova for Asia News, November 3 (thanks to C. Cantoni):
Moscow (AsiaNews) – The North Caucasus is till burning and this time the target of violence are religious. Attacks on Christian churches and against Muslim leaders have taken place between 1 and 2 November in different parts of the region.
Local Christian leaders have been trying now not to foment tension and avoid pointing the finger at religious extremism, but the eyes of investigators and public opinion are all pointing in that direction.
At dawn on Nov. 1, three fires have occurred in as many churches in the Autonomous Republic of Karachayevo-Cherkessia. According to preliminary reports, the attackers set fire to an Orthodox church in Orjonikidzevsky, almost destroyed, then continued on to another Orthodox and a Baptist church. In all cases, the buildings wee [sic] saved by the immediate intervention of pastors and faithful, who, after calling the fire department, started to put out the flames on their own….
Christian leaders have taken steps to curb possible tensions with the Muslim community. Press and investigators immediately indicated the track of religious extremism, which infests the Russian Caucasus. According to statements by the Archbishop of Stavropol and Vladikavkaz, Feofan, there are no preconditions for talking about religious hatred in the region: “It was a well-orchestrated provocation, but we can not talk about inter-religious enmity, especially between Orthodox Christians and Muslims.” “We can not blame Muslims, we can not judge people by individual incidents. Even policemen and muftis are killed and the attack has the same matrix: the intention is to destabilize inter-religious harmony, but they will not succeed”, added the Orthodox bishop.
Almost to prove his words, news of the assassination of the imam of a mosque in Khasavyurt, in the Republic of Dagestan, with a gunshot to the head, authorities are investigating.