Muslim Community in Kherson Gets New Spiritual Leader

08.02.2002, 16:27
Twenty-three-year-old Ruslan Dashurkhanovych has become the imam of the Muslim community in Kherson, Crimea (southern Ukraine). On 5 February 2002 ‘The Reporter’ released an interview in which he talked about his new position and Islam’s place in Ukraine and the world.

The correspondent from ‘The Reporter’ asked Dashurkhanovych: “What does an imam’s ‘career’ begin with?” The new imam responded: “Age is not so important. More important is knowledge of the Koran and the laws of the Muslim faith. One can become a spiritual leader only after acquiring profound religious knowledge from highly educated people. Then, we are called to tell everybody about Islam. Our goal is to unite all Muslims and teach them the canons of Islam.” According to the newly elected imam, the Muslim community in Kherson maintains contacts with the religious administration for Muslims in Ukraine. The issue of Islam and terrorism was also touched upon in the interview, since, after the 11 September events in the USA and the subsequent situation in the Middle East, many people tend to associate the words 'Islam' and 'Allah' with terrorism. “Islam does not have anything to do with extremists who commit acts of terror. These are not Muslims. They only use Islam as a mask to cover their identity. Extremists have their own interpretation of the Koran, which, however, does not correspond to Mohammed’s teaching. Yes, these people pray five times a day and fast. Yet they are not Muslims. They are obsessed with a horrible idea; they violate sharia and the commandments of the prophet Mohammed. Today, our primary objective is to warn everyone of the threat of extremist trends. We have come to Kherson to cherish reconciliation and love, not to sow discord and death,” stressed Imam Dashurkhanovych. It is estimated that there are more than two million Muslims in Ukraine. Source: