Novye Izvestia tried to understand how the ban is linked to growing conservatism.
Yelena Ivanova, Natalia Seibil
Only in exceptional cases are Muslims allowed to marry "women of Scripture," says a fatwa of the Council of Ulema of the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Russia. Otherwise, marriages between Muslims and non-Muslims are prohibited. The deputy head of the Muslim Spiritual Directorate Damir Mukhetdinov fully and completely supports the opinion of his boss Ravil Gainutdin, but explains that the decisions of the council of ulema are "intracommunal in nature" and appeal to "the responsibility of man before God and nothing else".
But not everything is so simple, even if there is no agreement within the confessors. The Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Tatarstan did not agree with Moscow's appeal. And there was a misunderstanding in society. Sergey Bychkov, Doctor of Historical Sciences, Russian Church historian says:
“The sad thing is that the Council of Muftis has always been distinguished by its broad outlook. The chairman of the Council of Muftis, Ravil Gainutdin, has always been a man of broad views. Therefore, the decision sounded very strange in the midst of a pandemic, when people need encouragement and support. Instead, they were given such a gift - think about whether you did the right thing if you got married or married a Gentile.
Aleksey Zhuravsky, a researcher of Islam and senior researcher at the Institute of Oriental and Antiquity at the Higher School of Economics, calls the position of the Council of Muftis a protective one, caused by the fear of blurring the identity:
- Where believers of any religion represent a minority, albeit a very significant minority, like Muslims in Russia, such concerns are quite understandable. Although, in my opinion, it is superfluous: the world, despite the "fundamentalist kickbacks", is moving towards secular societies, where the right to live in inter-religious or inter-confessional families, by virtue of the fact, is becoming more and more frequent.
The rise of conservatism and religious encapsulation
The Russian constitution states that the Russian Federation is a secular state. The church is separated from the state - many generations of Soviet and post-Soviet people have grown up with this. Pushkin at the beginning of the 19th century called the state "the only European", emphasizing its responsibility for progress. After the burst of unbridled freedom in the 1990s, an era of conservatism began in Putin's Russia. In the 21st century, Psychologist Alexander Asmolov sees a totalitarian-clerical threat to Russia:
- The President says that we have, of course, a secular state. In fact, our political doctrine is becoming clerical-totalitarian. Moreover, the priests of the clerical-totalitarian regime appear, whom you see every day, who are in politics. It is enough to look at people like Klishas, Krasheninnikov, Soloviev, Yampolskaya - and we will see that the principles of fundamentalism are imposed on us every day. All of them are priests of political blowjob, as I call them. They are so good at kissing power that the consequence of these kisses is the growth of obscurantism and the darkening of people's consciousness. They form inviolability, uncriticality, endless prohibitions, which have reached the point where history cannot be analyzed.
The line between state and religion is blurring. It is enough to look at the relationship between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Moscow authorities, says historian Sergey Bychkov. The principle of "divide and conquer" has not been canceled either:
- The Constitution says that the Russian Federation is a secular state, and the church is separated from the state. We see that in Moscow, for example, the “Two Hundred” program is being implemented - the construction of two hundred churches. It is funded by the government. We know that the largest temple - the Cathedral of Christ the Savior - is on the balance sheet of the Moscow City Hall. All significant expenses for housing and communal services are paid from the Moscow budget. That is, one thing is declared, but in fact another. We must at least not interfere with the Muslims if they want to build a mosque so that they do not crush each other. If, even in this, the state policy is open to them, then this will largely relieve the tension that exists.
Different religions have different challenges. Sergey Bychkov says that during the pandemic, Orthodox churches were empty. Priests receive support from the state and see not only a crisis in the economy, but also a crisis of faith. In Islam, there is a problem of "modernization" when the archaic picture of the world of this religion comes into conflict with the surrounding reality.
- This is largely due to the fact that fundamentalist imams give really very simple answers to many very complex questions of our time. It is always easier for a person to explain what is happening with the help of two or three stereotypes or two or three myths, rather than delve into a difficult situation. And the modern world presents a person with complex and contradictory problems. Fundamentalism gives primitive answers, says Aleksey Zhuravsky .
In times of change, simple answers to complex questions turn religion into a closed, repulsive system, says Alexander Asmolov, religious encapsulation begins. The taboo of marriages of a Muslim with a non-Muslim suggests that "the system begins to pupate and try to get out of the flow of the external information and political world":
- This is the civilizational and anthropological risk of our country. If we fall into this or that fundamentalism, then instead of the Constitution we will receive Sharia laws. And according to these laws, every time we will live according to the formula "Gulchatay, show your face." We will find ourselves in one of the most difficult societies in which the season of fanaticism begins. We will find ourselves on the sidelines of civilizational development.
Escape from freedom
Freedom is a heavy burden, says the historian Bychkov:
- After the collapse of the totalitarian state - the Soviet Union - people gained freedom. We saw what this turned into - the shooting of the White House, banditry, racketeering, extortion. The first to use freedom were those people who bring evil. For others, this freedom turned out to be a heavy burden. More often than not, freedom is not in demand, difficult and unwanted for many.
To take advantage of freedom, you need to have a core. Declaring the primacy of freedom is not enough. Freedom must be defended. Freedom must be taught. As the great psychologist Eric Fromm said: "to make a choice between the opportunity to enter an open door and thereby experience the fear of entering an open door and escape from freedom." Fundamentalism is opposed by a triad - art, culture and education. They give rise to critical thinking and become a vaccine against obscurantism. But education alone cannot solve this problem. Alexey Zhuravsky sees this as a task, first of all, for the state:
- The primary role is played by legal institutions if they behave consistently in a secular society, which does not flirt with religious sentiments, but consistently pursues a secular policy and a clear state policy.
This is difficult in our country. Whole republics, like Chechnya, are left at the mercy of Sharia supporters who hide behind traditions and establish an authoritarian rule. The role of the ideologist was taken over by television, which divides the world into friends and foes. "Pupation", as Alexander Asmolov aptly put it, continues.