Children and adults. West and us?

Again, in our own and neighboring chats and on various channels, the topic of juvenile justice in Europe is being discussed in order to shape a political worldview among Muslims. Yes, it is important to emphasize the «in order to», because these issues themselves — juvenile justice, education, immigration in Europe — are one thing, but the political conclusions that are drawn from them are something else entirely. Moreover, while this is clear in the case of openly pro-Kremlin bloggers and media, it is most confusing for those who claim to be either apolitical or anti-Western and pro-Russian and pro-Islamic.

In order to understand what’s going on here, these issues need to be divided into two different sets of questions. The first set of questions concerns individual strategies of Muslims, including religious practice, child rearing, and so on. And it should be emphasized that «The Voice of Islam» has never called on Muslims from Russia or other post-Soviet countries to necessarily move to Europe or other Western countries, nor has it ever presented them as ideal places on earth for Muslims. On the contrary, we have written about problems within the West and problems between the West and Islam, including publishing important material that many of our current critics first encountered when familiarizing themselves with the subject.

But with all these issues, it is important to understand that they relate to individual strategies of Muslims. Therefore, the decision to go to Europe or anywhere else should be made on an individual level, depending on a person’s situation, skills, connections, opportunities, and so on. In this sense, yes, it is necessary to be aware of the problems that may await them in Europe. But first, it is important to know about the real problems, not the distorted horror stories, and second, it is equally important to know about one’s own problems that immigrants may encounter in any other country. It is unjust and unproductive to present Europe and the West as paradise on earth where horror, nightmare, and darkness await, and vice versa, to present Europe and the West as the embodiment of horror, while silencing the problems that people may face there.

In general, from this point of view, it would not hurt for Muslims to have their own equivalents of immigration forums with sections for different countries, like ordinary Russians have, where Muslims living there would share first-hand knowledge about real problems and ways to solve them. But unfortunately, there is nothing like that at the moment. Instead, there are either websites and projects of commercial immigration companies that attract Muslims to their countries, including to sell their services, or bot farms where Olgin trolls and sincere Muslims who have joined them work on an anti-Western political agenda.

And now we move smoothly to the second block of questions, namely the political conclusions that are drawn from the problems that exist in Europe and the West, either in reality or in distorted propaganda. These conclusions are usually of three kinds.

The first are the conclusions of pro-Kremlin bloggers and trolls: look what’s happening in Europe and the West, this is where you’re being called and this is what Russia is against, so either rally around the Kremlin (the official version) as an option, or sit tight and don’t move because it’s even worse there.

The second are those who gain the most respect for their consistency, but only if they follow through and if their words match their actions. Specifically, those who argue that all parts of the global non-Islamic system are unacceptable for the lives of Muslims, including Muslim countries integrated into the international order, and who urge Muslims to resettle in areas governed by «pure Sharia». Such people used to call for resettlement in Waziristan, Idlib, or the Islamic State (IS), but now there are significantly fewer of them, as IS has been defeated as a global project, and the territories in Idlib or Afghanistan appear as local enclaves with not very inspiring conditions and prospects. Nevertheless, these people deserve the greatest respect for their consistency, especially those among them who have followed this path to the end.

The third group is the most problematic. Some of them have tried to follow the second path, or encouraged others to do so, but have not dared to commit themselves fully. Some of them try to convince themselves that they are still unwavering nonconformists, unlike those who have surrendered to either Russia or the West. Others simply think they are the smartest, able to outwit everyone and present as a breakthrough discovery what others claim to be hiding. Regardless, both these people and others propagate the idea that it is necessary to leave Russia, but anywhere but Europe. They mention all sorts of alternative countries, from Malaysia and Turkey to Qatar and the United Arab Emirates to Latin America and even Canada, where, in their view, there are basically no problems like in Europe.

In the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan or Idlib, such people no longer aspire to go, partly because they have already been burned in similar places, and partly because they prefer «intransigence» with all its comforts. In principle, all this would be a problem for them and for those who fall for their essentially one-sided propaganda, were it not for a serious «but». They are doing all this in the context of a war of political projects and strategies, and the result of their propaganda is in fact a tipping of the scales of the wavering Muslims, not even in favor of the second group due to its lack of a serious project today, but in favor of the first group, namely the Kremlin. Yes, things need to be called by their names, because in our language and political space there is no discussion about the pros and cons and problems of immigration and existence in different countries, including Western ones, but rather a targeted propaganda of anti-European and anti-Western sentiments among Russian and post-Soviet Muslims, which works exactly in favor of the Kremlin, which is the main propagator and beneficiary of such sentiments. And here we come to the question of why this is the case and what our political stance is in this regard. First of all, it is primarily a political stance, and this is what is important to emphasize and understand.

For we do not give all Muslims universal advice and instructions on how to choose individual strategies, and we do not tell them to go to Europe or to avoid Europe or any other country. The analysis of these issues must be done individually, with an understanding of the realities of the country and the individual. However, we are concerned with the formulation of political goals.

Second, our political beliefs are currently focused on the Muslims of a particular region — those who are under the control of the Kremlin and those who are resisting its authority or trying to break free from its influence. As Muslims from this region, we understand very clearly that other Muslim countries or movements will not only not solve our problems, but will also easily sacrifice us and our interests in the name of their own interests and ideologies. This includes the anti-Western ideologies they use to justify their alliances or sympathies with historical enemies of Islam and Muslims, such as fascists or Chinese communists. This is further encouraged by the spread of anti-European and anti-Western ideas.

As for our strategic goals, they do not include the triumph of ideas currently emerging in the West (and elsewhere) in Muslim countries, lands, or communities — such as gender ideology, feminism, transhumanism, and so on. No, Muslim countries, lands and communities should have their own sovereign political and cultural space, based on the supremacy of their own values, historically shaped by and rooted in Islam. And it is clear that in the process of defending these values, we may encounter problems with the mainstream of the modern West. But the problem is that while it may be necessary to defend them against the West, Russia and those who support it today, the «global East» and the «global South,» do not provide for the autonomy and independence of our spaces.

Moreover, no matter what happens, there is no escaping the fact that, geographically speaking, the majority of the territories we are talking about are either in Europe or adjacent to it and already closely linked to it. The «global East» and the «global South» are considered to be part of «Great Russia», which opposes its enemy — the «collective West». Therefore, in this sense, we are more like-minded with Muslim peoples and countries that are occupied by enemies of the «collective West», such as the Uighurs in China or the Bosnians and Albanians in the Balkans, which explains their support for the West and their distrust of the «global East» and the «global South».

Muslims from these regions are undoubtedly interested in learning about the problems originating in and associated with the West and how to address these challenges. However, what Muslims who are politically aligned with this region are definitely not interested in is the spread of anti-European propaganda and psychosis among them. Such interests serve our enemies today, whether they are spread by overtly pro-Kremlin bots or by individuals who harbor resentment against the «global East» and the «global South» and are willing to sacrifice us for the sake of the Russian and Chinese «world.

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