Repression against believers of different faiths intensify in the occupied territories of Donbas
Searches at the Al-Amal mosque in occupied Donetsk and its closure, conducted by the so-called State Security Ministry of DPR, is another step towards intensifying repression of believers in this territory, - President of the Center for Religious Studies and International Spiritual Relations Igor Kozlovskyy was reported as saying at a press conference of Ukrinform on July 2.
“During the past month, various sources of information began to appear in this area: local journalists have distributed a message in Internet publications about a Muslim community that is allegedly extremist. Hardly had the month of Ramadan ended, and the unjust repression were launched against them.” The prayer house - the Al-Amal mosque was closed, the representatives of this community were summoned for questioning, and now they signed acknowledgement of travel restrictions beyond the territory of the so-called DPR. I have known this community for a long time, and there is nothing extremist, there are ordinary believers who don’t maintain any political stance. This is evidence of a systematic approach to believers and not only from among Muslims, which is the policy of the Russian state, which it implements through its satellites on the territory of the DPR / LNR and in the occupied Crimea. We see this as another step towards intensifying repressions,” Kozlovskyy said.
He noted that the so-called DPR runs not only the so-called the ministry of state security, but also the entire repressive system - both the local police and the prosecutor's office, and they are all controlled by Russian special services.
“This step is the beginning of persecution of Muslims – and it is very alarming, and we call on the community, civil society, the media to keep an eye in that,” said the religious scholar.
At the same time, he added that the occupied territories of the Donbas gradually developed repressive policies. At the first stage, it was banditry that repressed the believers simply because they believed – they took possession of their property, killed people. Then they arrested people. These people disappeared - believers, political prisoners, ordinary businessmen, and the fate of many is unknown.
“Now they have adopted a new tactic. If you look at the information that they provide on television, in Internet publications, you can see the sequence – first, a public opinion is formed, then there comes an outrage: what are the law enforcement doing, we have extremists who distribute their literature, and, as if responding to the demands of society, the authorities are searching and finding this literature. We know this literature, there is nothing extremist in it. However, for the average citizen, this is something extraordinary, that is, they are moving to a new form - if we are a people's republic, there is a request of the people, so we react,” says Kozlovskyy.
As for the All-Ukrainian Association of Public Organizations “Alraid”, which is probably related to the Muslim community in Donetsk, then, according to Kozlovskyy, “for many years, before the war and during the war, as part of the civil society of Ukraine, this All-Ukrainian Association had maintained a well-defined civic position of their own and advocated the integrity of Ukraine, opposing all attacks on our territories.”
“And, of course, it is annoying the other side that is opposed to Ukraine. And there they use the position of “Alraides” in order to bind them to those or other processes that take place in these occupied territories, and to blame. And then, to do something the mythical line with the “Muslim Brotherhood”, etc., that is, to make a fake, which will work in the minds of an average citizen. Our goal is to destroy such myths,” the religious scholar emphasized.