What were the presidential elections for the Ukrainian Muslims which number reaches several hundred thousand persons? What are they waiting from their result? The Mufti of the Spiritual Management of Muslims of Ukraine "Ummah" Said Ismagilov tells about it.
- How Muslims of Ukraine remembered the presidential elections 2010?
- We will remember that in the pre-election struggle one of the political forces tried to imitate the "Islamic threat" in Crimea. This attempt, as we expected, did not lead to anything, but became very unpleasant signal for us. For the purpose of self-PR the citizens were frightened by those "terrible Muslims", extremists who are actually not present in our country.
"Politicians thus try to distract attention of voters from the real problems, first of all in economy, - the political scholar Vladimir Fesenko assumed then. - Clumsy attempts of affecting Islamic minority testify to misunderstanding by politicians and agents of national security of such a phenomenon as Islam, and to desire to simulate accessory to the Western civilization. But not by the level of law, order and responsibility of the power before citizens, but by opposition to the Islamic world and the potential Muslim voters".
- What position was occupied by the Muslim community? Whether it is possible to speak about the consolidated support of some of the candidates?
- Among the Muslims of Ukraine there was no uniform position about support of some of the candidates on a post of the president. Nobody from potential candidates was interested in position of Muslims, their requirements and problems. Therefore no any of the Spiritual Managements declared about support of any of them officially.
Thus even before the first round of elections the Spiritual Management of Muslims of Ukraine "Ummah" and the Spiritual Management of Muslims of Crimea addressed to coreligionists with the appeal to exercise the right of the voter and to take part in both rounds of elections. And to choose someone from candidates, or to vote against all, is already the private business of each separate Muslim.
Our Spiritual Management published the reference with the appeal to coreligionists to occupy the active civic position and to vote for those candidates who guarantee further development of democracy in the country, will protect the rights and freedoms of citizens, will provide freedom of worship and freedom of speech, will struggle with corruption and are aimed at active cooperation both with the European West, and with the Muslim East.
- But nevertheless, according to your observation, on whose side declined likings of Muslims?
- According to our observation, likings of Muslims in the first round of elections were disseminated between five-six candidates, among which there were also representatives of a new formation of democratic politicians - Sergey Tigipko, Anatoly Gritsenko and Arseny Yatsenyuk. In the second round the struggle entered politicians known for a long time. It was a serious disappointment for many. And though the Mejlis of the Crimean-Tatar people called to support in the second round of elections of Yulia Timoshenko, all Spiritual Managements of Muslims refrained and officially did not agitate for someone from finalists of the presidential campaign.
Both Victor Yanukovych, and Yulia Timoshenko already for many years occupied high state posts, but it was not reflected in any way on the life of Muslims, including the Crimean Tatars. Even on the contrary, for several years is decided the problem concerning the building of the Cathedral mosque in Simferopol.
In the second round of elections likings of Muslims were divided between both candidates, this time there were a lot of those who voted against all or ignored the elections. The Muslims of Ukraine, as well as the majority of citizens of the country, await positive changes, but do not connect them with old politicians.
Whereas under the Constitution more than imperious powers now has the parliament (Verhovna Rada) and the Prime Minister, all are waiting for new parliamentary elections to support new leaders and their parties who already could declare themselves in the first round of presidential elections.
- How you are going to perceive the outcome of the elections?
- We wait for announcement of definite results of elections, but their outcome will be apprehended easily, without pleasure or affliction. First: both finalists spoke about the necessity to keep all democratic rights and freedoms that is very important for us, Muslims. And they will be compelled to adhere to these promises, at least because the current situation in the country does not accept other succession of events. The level of civil consciousness is now so high that no one will risk to make an attempt upon it.
Secondly: powers of the president are now far not such, as at Leonid Kuchma. Nowadays he has no possibility to operate the country individually.
Thirdly: whoever became the president; he will be resisted by very strong opposition supervising each step of the new Guarantor of the Constitution.
- What is your personal position concerning political participation and a position of the Muslims of the country?
- As the Mufti of the SMMU "Ummah" I consider that in the sphere of political problems it is necessary for the Muslims of Ukraine to develop a uniform opinion, the general platform, then it will be possible to support together particular parties and particular candidates which can solve our essential problems, will respect freedom of worship and freedom of speech and will not use Islamic minority in their political aims cynically.
For the development of this view there already exists the Council of the Spiritual Managements and centers of Muslims of Ukraine. I hope that in the near future we will discuss this question.
Abdullah Rinat MUHAMETOV
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