Russian model of fraternal coexistence between Orthodox Christians and Muslims has proved to be more successful, and this certainly has its basis in the spiritual and geographical closeness of Orthodox Christians and Muslims, in the entire area where our two civilizations touch. Such a symbiosis in Russia guarantees success both domestically and internationally, especially in the light of the current special military operation, writes Aleksandar Raković, Chief Researcher at the Institute of Contemporary History of Serbia in Belgrade.
On November 24, 2022 in Kazan, we had a fruitful interfaith dialogue at the session “Religious Polyphony and Political Stability”, within the Valdai Discussion Club conference titled “Religious Polyphony and National Unity
At the session “Religious Polyphony and Political Stability” it was stressed that there is a huge potential for religious diversity to give society more political stability. Thus, religion must be very important in strengthening the sovereignty of the state. However, it should be an interaction in both directions: from the state towards churches and religious communities and from churches and religious communities towards the state.
In democratic societies, state laws provide for freedom of religion. Freedom of belief means that human beings are free. Free people, who are devoted to their religious believes — should react towards the state with an expression of loyalty to the statehood. This is the only positive way. So, churches and religious communities should not be built as states within a state or behave without any responsibility towards the state.
In the case of the Russian Federation, it is very important to underline that there is a strong relationship between the state and traditional churches and religious communities. It is so strong, that is truly correct to speak about Russian Orthodox Christianity and equally legitimate to speak about Russian Islam, Russian Buddhism, etc.
It is now widely accepted in Russia to consider traditional churches and religious communities “ours”. They are not “foreign cultures” or “alien cultures”. They are “respected cultures” and “different cultures” that should be incorporated and considered part of the united Russian culture. Such integration is an example of successful religious polyphony, of the way towards political stability, which strengths the Russian state.
Another conclusion at the session “Religious Polyphony and Political Stability” is that it is completely unacceptable to consider Islam as extremist religion, despite the extent of this sentiment among Western societies. Such stigmatization is just a political tool.
In the late 20th century, new Western conquests started with “Serbophobia”, then at the beginning of 21st century continued with “Islamophobia” and nowadays it is “Russophobia”. Stigmatization is always used for political, economic and military conquests.
In this regard, the positive aspects of the relationship between Orthodox Christians and Muslims should be especially emphasized because it is the basis for the defence of both of them from the imperialism of Western civilization.