Moscow Patriarchate calls for Orthodox-Muslim alliance against extremism
by Nina Achmatova
Metropolitan Hilarion says Wahamism is a common threat to the two religions in Russia and the Middle East. In his view, Muslim extremists are driven "by the devil," non faith.

Moscow (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk has called on Orthodox Christians and Muslims to unite in the fight against Islamic extremisn in Russia and the Middle East. The head of the Department of External Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate recently appeared on Church and the World, a programme on Rossiya 24 television. Mufti Farid Salman was also a guest.

Wahhabism "is a very serious threat to our life now," Metropolitan Hilarion said. An undeclared war is going on against traditional Islam in the North Caucasus and Christianity in the Middle East. In both cases, the reason is "one and the same thing: religious intolerance."

"It's our common problem, our common tradition, and, of course, we should fight together to be able to live in peace and accord," he said. Wahabis, he noted, are driven "by the devil, not religious beliefs."

Speaking about recent attacks in the Caucasus and southern Russia against local Muslim leaders, he said, "We are deeply saddened by the news we have been getting from various regions of our country-from Dagestan and Chechnya-on the killings of muftis and leading Islamic theologians."

Extremists "commit these illegal and immoral acts to divide our society and destroy the religious peace that has taken centuries to create," he explained. "We have to call things by their names, and there is no room for political correctness here," he added.

For his part, Salman, a theologian well-known in Russia, called for "a strategic union of Orthodox faith and traditional Islam in Russia," pointing out that joint efforts by the state and traditional religious institutions are needed to fight Wahhabism, which is a false teaching and "a totalitarian sect." (N.A.)