Russian court bans book on Islam

A Russian court has banned as “extremist” a book described as a credo for the Wahhabi form of Islam, often accused by authorities for inciting separatist insurrection in Chechnya.

Russian news agencies said a Moscow district court on Tuesday banned from distribution the “Book of Monotheism” by Muhammad ibn Sulaiman al-Tamimi in response to a prosecutor’s request.

A prosecution statement, quoted by Interfax, said the book “contains the tenets of the ideology of Wahhabism and conveys a negative outlook towards those…who do not adhere to the ideas of Wahhabism and are not members of their brotherhood”.

It said experts had concluded the book was “clearly aimed at inciting religious intolerance and hostility in society”.

Unknown

The book cited by the court is all but unknown in the Arab world. But a book of the same name was written by the 18th century founder of Wahhabism, Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab.

The austere Wahhabi version of Sunni Islam is the official creed in Saudi Arabia – formed through an alliance of Wahhabi clerics and the Saudi royal family. It is a strict version of one of the four main legal schools of Sunni Islam.

Russian authorities have pointed to Wahhabism as the inspiration for many of the separatists who have been fighting Moscow’s rule in Chechnya for nearly a decade.

During the 1997-1999 period, when Chechnya enjoyed de facto independent status, Wahhabism made inroads in the region.

With 20 million Muslims among 145 million residents, Russian authorities are keen to keep a lid on any form of Islam outside the mainstream.

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