One more proof that Ukraine is not like Russia

One more proof that Ukraine is not like Russia
Mahmud Velitov, the Imam of “Yardam” mosque of Moscow
19/07/2016
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Ukraine is not Russia... With whole set of questions and different attitudes to the personality of ex-president Leonid Kuchma, his phrase of the headline of his book, today is cited by his sympathizers, and those citizens whose opinions about the time of his presidency and "multi-vector foreign policy" cannot be called positive. However, this article is not about Leonid Kuchma, but it concerns the human rights, in particular religious, in Ukraine and in Russia.

"Ukraine is not Russia," - we hear it every time when it is talking about the respecting of human rights, including freedom of conscience, religion, assembly, and speech. The majority of Russian citizens believe the Russian Authority’s total control of personal spiritual and intellectual space of every citizen will lead to discipline and peace. The so-called "Yarovaya Law", already signed by Putin, essentially negates many of the constitutional norms and contradicts the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. So it is not surprising that only mobile operators and Internet service providers have expressed certain complains, as they are required to invest the big money in hardware and software which will be able to lead fixation absolutely of all telephone calls of the subscribers, to save the texts of all SMS, e-mails and social network messages of users for three years. The interception of private correspondence and conversation fixation of citizens are justified by security considerations, and in Russia, the Yarovaya law is considered as "anti-terrorist".

The adoption of such document is unique to the Russian reality. It indicates that the servile psychology is still dominant in Russian society. Indeed, thinking, behavior and interaction in society, defined by such psychology, are acceptable, moreover are the only possible. The reason is a  continued living in a totalitarian state - firstly in the USSR, and then, after a short period of Gorbachev's glasnost and Yeltsin's democracy, in the despotic dictatorship with the elements of the cult of personality, the deification of the head of state and the voluntary self-effacement of every citizen (subject is more appropriate) of the country, who is reveling in his insignificance in comparison with the "greatness of the leader" and in belonging to the monstrously huge country.

Yarovaya Law deprives Russians even the illusion of the individual values, and the right to have the own world view, finally relieving Russian citizens of the responsible for themselves, for their actions and for supporting themselves financially and their families.

Russian citizens do not feel any inconvenience from the fact that "Yarovaya law" is muzzle and chain and shackles at once for the new Russian serf. The only thing that causes some discomfort is a high probability that a significant rise in price of mobile communications costs could be expected in the near future.

Well, in addition, the law toughens the penalty of certain articles in Criminal Code, introduces additional reasons to prohibit entry and departure as well as criminal liability for failure to report (hello, Pavlik Morozov!). The Russian society, which is feeling masochistic nostalgia for Stalinist times of "hard hand", has met all those facts with the prolonged applause. A small number of timid remarks, concerning this law, its strictness and extrajudicial nature that violates the human rights (what rights, what are you talking about?), quickly faded under the influence of either the internal self-censorship or people's well-founded fear to experience the new law on themselves…

Let me remind you, the "Yarovaya package" consists of two bills that amend the 21 federal laws. As a result it greatly expands the powers of law enforcement agencies, allows to put forward more requirements for freight forwarders and operators of postal services; and it also requires to improve the control of religious and missionary activities.

"In the first act, the stage designer has hung a pistol on the wall, and then, in the fourth one it should be fired. In order to find internal and external enemy, who will be guilty of all the troubles of Mother Russia, the collective intelligence has to seek the application points of the law. 'The failure to report' is also a terrible thing ... Suddenly, someone would be quicker and get the door of the KGB first ... Oh, sorry – the FSB – carrying out a complain about lawbreaker – would you be under the investigation too if you couldn’t be so quick?

Not surprisingly, that the fighters for the purification jib like horse, feel nervous, and if there is nothing or nobody to pick quarrel with, they begin to retrospect, remembering who from citizens have said something or somewhere that contradicts the Russian mysterious soul, which is defended by the dragon called the 'Yarovaya Law'.

As a result, here it is Mahmoud Velitov, the imam of the "Yardyam" mosque of Moscow, who was under house arrest until August 27 because he didn’t express the condemnation about killed coreligionist in 2013. He may be sentenced to 5 years of the imprisonment, because of so called the “incitement to terrorism”. Once again I'd like to stress that he was convicted not for encouragement words for the acts that were seemed to be wrong ones for Russians. But he was convicted because he did not say bad words about the deceased man, who had been mysteriously killed. Because he has not condemned the relations of the latter with the extremists organisations that have been proven neither by the investigation nor by the court. It means that he has been convicted for following the previously respected Russian proverb - "Say nothing but good of the dead man" and the words, that Sviatoslav said in the tenth century -"Dead man is ashamed about nothing"... in addition, the Imam was accused of five- or six-year-old statement that he had said during the round table. He said that in order to counter terrorism, it was necessary to understand the terrorists, to understand what made them tick. According to Russian native speakers, the Russian language has no semantic nuances. That’s why they comprehend “to understand” and “to forgive” as synonyms and “to forgive” means “to give the nod to such actions in the future”. I'm not making this up. His statement including the word “to understand” was provided as the basis for the charge of “support of terrorism”.

On the day of arrest, the lawyer, Dagir Khasavov posted on Facebook that Mahmud Velitov's isolation is a threat to his life, as he was seriously operated at the beginning of the year. The advocate intends to ensure his release.

- Today (July 11 - Ed.) in Moscow a well-known Muslim leader, Sheikh Mahmoud was arrested and taken to the Investigation Department of the North-East Administrative Okrug of Moscow (Maryina Roshcha district ). The investigative actions are carried out in absence of his lawyer! His home and the mosque at Otradnoe, where he serves as an imam, have been raided. The Islamic religious literature have been seized, and there is no doubt that some of it will be recognized as extremist, - notes the lawyer.

(It should be noted, the charge formulation has been changed later in the reportage, broadcasted by the TV channel "Russia-1". It claims that the Imam was accused because (on the record of 2013) he had not expressed enough condemnation of terrorism - ed.).

Meanwhile, in contrary to the presumption of innocence, Russian television channels hurried to accuse the mosque imam and his parishioners of the terrorism, and of inconsistencies with the Islam canons. The TV channel "Russia-1" broadcasted the reportage about Velitov. It claims that he is backing for the members of the terrorist group "Hizb ut-Tahrir" and "... it turned out that the mosque, headed by Velitov, is living by its own rules that sometimes contradict the Islam canons". Also it is said that he "replicated the views "that were “controversial”, as “his statements on terrorism and terrorists did not sound like condemnation – he always urged to understand them”. Providing a fragment of an old (voice-over says that it was made "some time ago") video as proof, the news report argues (without mentioning the names, and information sources) that faithful Muslims tried not to attend the mosque "Yardam" because of its "special atmosphere". On that video, one of the parishioners called Russia "an unfriendly state". The journalists rushed to conclusions, calling the Muslim on video "an extremist recruiter who urges parishioners to jihad". Understanding that the proof doesn’t look convincing enough, the journalists are forgetting about the rule, “one thing happening after another thing doesn’t mean that the first thing caused the second” so they reinforce their accusations by another dubious argument: it turns out, that a Russian guy Dmitry Sokolov has visited this mosque once. He has adopted Islam and gone to the Caucasus, where allegedly joined the "bandit underground, and has become a demolitionist". It remains to check theaters, barbershops and grocery stores on extremism, that Sokolov had been visiting before adoption of Islam ...

TV Channel “Life” went even further – the reportage and the news anchor narrative about Imam Velitov and the reasons of his arrest are accompanied with the weird comments and the videos that don’t confirm anything. For example, a report about the "extremist literature", found in the car and in Velitov's house, is accompanied by the frames of Quran (it is weird that Imam has such book, is not it? – Ed.). It was also mentioned that Velitov had helped to return the historical mosque to the Muslim community and that the Imam had six children, brought up in the spirit of Islam. According to television journalists, all those facts must convince the audience completely and totally that Velitov is quite the terrorist.

The newspaper "Kommersant" writes about the official charges the following: Mahmoud Velitov, the Imam of the "Yardyam" Mosque was arrested and taken for interrogation in connection with the terrorist activities. According to investigators, on September 23, 2013, Mahmoud Velitov, the Council Head, the imam of the religious organisation, delivered a public speech, in which he supposedly justified the activities of the member of the terrorist organisation "Hizb ut-Tahrir "(that is forbidden in Russia). That was happened during the prayers at the mosque, located in Khachatryan street in Moscow: "According to the psycho-linguistic forensic analysis, that speech contained a set of psychological and linguistic features justifying the terrorist activities".

Imam's friend told the "Kommersant", Velitov had just mentioned the dead man with the good words during the sermon and in the interview but it is unclear why it has resulted in charges of involvement in terrorist activity.

Yes, this story I started with the words "Ukraine is not Russia". In fact, Ukraine is not Russia. In Ukraine, people are not persecuted for their thinking, for belonging to a particular church or religion.

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