Ukraine’s Military Just Made Enemies of 2 Billion Muslims
12:43 GMT 20.03.2023 (Updated: 17:06 GMT 20.03.2023)
© AFP 2023 / MOHD RASFANThis picture taken on May 22, 2019 shows a religious Muslim student kissing a copy of the holy Koran while observing Nuzul Quran, when the beginnings of the Koran were revealed to the Prophet Mohammed, in a mosque in Bentong. - Dressed in robes and chanting in Arabic, scores of Malaysian Muslim children read the Koran aloud in a mosque to mark a special date in the Islamic calendar.
© AFP 2023 / MOHD RASFAN
Social media footage of Ukrainian troops setting pages of a Quran on fire has sparked outrage among Russian Muslims. Kiev rushed to claim the clip was a Russian fake, but it’s not the first time the Ukrainian military has resorted to such propaganda to taunt Russian Muslim troops.
The Ukrainian troops behind the Quran-burning video circulating online have made enemies out of Muslims across the planet, and authorities in Kiev must bring them to justice if they don’t want to ruin relations with the entire Muslim World, religious leaders and academics from Egypt, Syria and Saudi Arabia have told Sputnik.
“The desecration of the Holy Quran, whether it be the burning of the book in Europe or its desecration by Ukrainian troops, cannot be called anything other than the most heinous form of terrorism,” said Dr. Ali Hassan Muhammad, a leading theologian at Cairo’s Al-Azahr Islamic Research Academy.
“The crime of these Ukrainian servicemen has spread widely on social networks of the Islamic world: the resonance among ordinary believers has become too great…These actions are a direct insult to the world’s two billion Muslims,” Muhammad said.
At the same time, Muhammad noted, the Ukrainian troops’ behavior only echoes the “Western values” they are purportedly fighting for, with Muslims already experiencing the burnings of the Quran in Denmark, Sweden and France.
“It’s difficult to even imagine the extent that the hatred in the hearts of these people – including hatred toward Muslims,” Muhammad said. “It would be a mistake to consider this a spontaneous act, the act of some individual servicemen of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. They, like the countries of Europe, have a very clear ideology of hatred which morphs into the most heinous forms of terror and intimidation.”
‘Terrorism Has No Religion or Nationality’
Ahmad Abid Ahmad, the head of the Assembly of Syrian Alawites, said the provocative video demonstrates that “terrorism has no religion or nationality.”
“Not a single sane person would think to defile the Holy Scriptures of another religion, whether he be a Muslim, Christian or Jew. It’s just immoral. Criminal from every perspective. If these people allowed themselves to desecrate the Quran, they are not Christians at all, but genuine Satanists, servants of the devil,” Ahmad said. With their behaviour, these soldiers “caused pain to all Muslims,” he said.
“Obviously, the countries of the West – which themselves allow the burning of the Quran, are behind such lawlessness, as well as the US and Israel. The latter, incidentally, allows radicals to defile Christian and Muslim saints in Jerusalem no less openly and brazenly,” the Alawite leader added.
22 February, 06:08 GMT
Dr. Abdullah Alassaf, a professor of political science at the University of Saudi Arabia, echoed Ahmad’s sentiments, saying that the desecration of the holy scriptures of any religion is “completely unacceptable.”
“Books and places of worship must remain outside politics and conflicts – including international ones,” Alassaf said. The professor expressed hope that this “act of extremism” would be dealt with in the appropriate manner.
“It’s obvious that the servicemen of the Ukrainian Armed Forces were trying in this way to provoke Muslim servicemen in the Russian military – first of all, the Chechens. But in their actions they deeply offended all the Muslims of the world,” Alassaf said. “I’m convinced that all Muslim countries, as well as the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, must openly condemn the actions of the Ukrainian military. Ukraine’s authorities, in turn, must launch a tribunal against the extremists if they do not want to get into a quarrel with the entire Islamic World by concealing the crimes of outright terrorists.”
The video at the center of outrage is a clip in which a Ukrainian serviceman can be seen approaching two others sitting near a metal fire pit, asking “Guys, are you having trouble starting a fire?” before handing them a plastic bag full of Qurans. “Oh, a Quran, a book for blockheads [an ethnic slur, ed.].” “Rip it, **** we’re gonna burn it,” a colleague recommends, with one of the soldiers proceeding to rip pages and put them on the fire, warming his hands over the flames.
Chechen Leader Ramzan Kadyrov reposted the video on Telegram, and commented on by swearing “by Almighty Allah” that he “will not allow anyone to mock the Holy Quran with impunity” and promising to “sincerely pray” that the troops would punished at the hands of Chechen forces.
A Ukrainian government official issued an English-language “fake news alert” tweet, suggesting Russia “staged” the clip to try to implicate Kiev.
© Photo : Twitter / @OlegNikolenko_Tweet by Ukrainian official accusing Russia of "staging" a clip of Ukrainian troops burning the Quran.
Tweet by Ukrainian official accusing Russia of "staging" a clip of Ukrainian troops burning the Quran.
© Photo : Twitter / @OlegNikolenko_
However, the video is just one of a number of social media clips and photos that Ukrainian servicemen have posted over the past year to try to spurn Muslim fighters’ fury. Another recent video showed Ukrainian fighters cutting salo – a cured pork fat delicacy, on the cover of a Quran. (Under Islamic law, it is forbidden for believers to eat or even handle pork). Another video, posted to the official Twitter account of the Ukrainian National Guard last winter, showed a Ukrainian trooper dipping bullets in salo for use “against the Kadyrov orcs.”
© Photo : Twitter / @ng_ukraineUkrainian National Guard tweet of soldier dipping bullets with lard "against the Kadyrov orcs."
Ukrainian National Guard tweet of soldier dipping bullets with lard "against the Kadyrov orcs."
© Photo : Twitter / @ng_ukraine