The armed conflict engulfing Ukraine is not limited to a clash between kuffars, but involves the Ummah too. First, there are those Muslims who live on Ukrainian territory, and those Muslims who have been sent by the Chechen president, Ramzan Kadyrov, to fight as soldiers along the Russians. They are formally enemies, divided between support for Kiev and submission to Moscow. Then, there are the exponents of the usual pseudo-religious and warmongering fanaticism, with their ambitions to revive the plans of ISIS and Al Qāida in the Caucasus region. Finally, there is us, Muslims from every corner of the world who follow the events with anxiety, trying to orient ourselves amidst the confusion of news and information, in order to better understand which side to take.
MUSLIMS IN UKRAINE
Although estimates vary considerably, from 500,000 to 1 million, they testify to a significant Muslim presence both in Ukraine and in the Crimea annexed by Moscow. Different ethnic origins, mainly Tartar, but also Caucasian, Central Asian, Turkish, and even Arab. Their history spans centuries and centuries. A story made of oppression, exodus, and returns.
Today, in the rage of the clashes, there are Muslim brothers and sisters who share with the rest of the population, over 40 million people, the lack of food and electricity, the long moments of tension and fear, together with the contradictions that the conflict is bringing with it.
The recruitment of Tatars and other Muslims in the Ukrainian far-right militias opposing Russia in the Donbass was already known, and had disappointed many. To fight the Russian invader is understandable, in memory of the persecutions suffered in the past, as well as of the wars in Afghanistan, Chechnya, and Syria, but also under the command of unbelievers who, on top of that, are openly hostile to Muslims? The video of the bullets that a militiaman soaked with pork fat to “welcome” Kadyrov’s Chechens to Ukraine, speaks volumes about the nature of their comrades in the battle against Moscow.
This is not to judge negatively the Tartars and the other Muslims who joined the anti-Russian militias in Ukraine, but to emphasize how earthly life, especially in the most extreme cases, can consist of circumstances with ambiguous implications, where even for the more learned it can be difficult to distinguish with certainty ḥarām from halāl. Allāh swt certainly knows best of all, and He will be the judge in the end.
RAMZAN KADYROV: PUTIN’S “FOOTMAN”
Having long since sold himself for power and money to Vladimir Putin, betraying the professed Islamic faith, the Chechen president, Ramzan Kadyrov, has deployed a contingent of 12,000 Chechen soldiers on Ukrainian territory, calling himself a “footman” of Putin. “The president ‒ he declared, needless to say referring to the Russian one ‒ has made the right decision and we will execute his orders in all circumstances”.
Once upon a time there were the “Farfan”, the Christian mercenaries in the service of the different Muslim dynasties that used to control North Africa. Today, we have the “Farfan” in reverse fighting in Ukraine, a model that Kadyrov has already applied in Syria, where thousands of Chechens are deployed carrying out the most varied tasks, in support of the Russian troops and the army of the murderous regime in Damascus.
Yet, Kadyrov shows no shame in reciting the script of the one who is super-enthusiastic about the opportunity to intervene in the Ukrainian conflict, without giving a thought to the Muslims who find themselves as his enemies on the other side of the fence.
He even said to be willing to deploy 70,000 men for a large-scale operation that culminated in the capture of Kiev, wearing the clothes of the conqueror to boost his image in front of the television screens, and make the Chechens forget the violence and ugliness of which he has demonstrated to be capable of in order to stay in power, pleasing Vladimir Putin in all respects.
He wants to “plant the flag” and, here you go, his mercenaries on Moscow’s payroll have already raised the Chechen banner in various Ukrainian locations, even next to the Russian one. Ḥarām! A gesture this one, that is not difficult to judge…
A DYNASTY OF “DEMONS”
Due to his “association” with the Kremlin, which has a bloody historical record in respect to the Tartars as well as Islam in general, Ramzan Kadyrov has not tried in any way to pass himself off as the liberator of Muslims in Ukraine. From this point of view, his faults come from afar, indeed they precede him, going back to his father Achmat, Grand Mufti at the time of the first Chechen war after the fall of the Soviet Union.
It was Achmat Kadyrov who opened the doors of the struggle for independence to extremist militants, only to regret it shortly thereafter, since Ibn Al Khattāb and Shamil Basayev intended to establish the archetype of Daesh throughout North Caucasus. Guess who he called to stop them? The new Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, who was able to build the foundations of his career as a tsar thanks to the “war on terror” in the region.
A “war on terror” made up of torture, illegal detention, burned houses, raids of entire villages, and even mass graves with mutilated corpses, according to numerous complaints from international organizations, activists, and journalists, such as Anna Politkovskaya and Natalia Estemirova, both murdered.
The result of the “stabilization” of Chechnya ended up to produce even more terrorism, with suicide bombings and hostage-taking as sensational as desperate (Moscow theater, Beslan school), in reaction to the brutality of Russian colonialism toward local Muslims. The suppression of the authentic soul of Chechen independence had given way to a pseudo-religious and warmongering fanaticism, perceived as the only alternative left available to free the Chechens from the yoke of the Kremlin.
With the passing of Achmat Kadyrov, killed in an attack, Putin began to rely on the young Ramzan as his personal violent arm, placing him on the throne of a dictatorial and police regime, autonomous only formally and incorporated within the Federation Russian.
REGIME CHANGE IN CHECHNYA, PEACE IN UKRAINE!
“I am a Muslim, a Chechen, and a Russian patriot. When in 1999, our republic was invaded by these devils, we swore on the Koran that we would fight them everywhere”, Ramzan Kadyrov said to justify the deployment of soldiers to Syria, where more than 3,000 militants from Chechnya had flocked. However, on closer inspection it was the brutality of his methods, endorsed by Putin, that pushed the new generation of Chechens into the ranks of various terrorist groups. ISIS has been able to penetrate even among the young people of the diaspora in Europe, such as Abdullakh Abouyedovich Anzorov, Samuel Paty’s decapitator.
As much as Putin, Ramzan Khadyrov keeps feeding and exploiting the armed “misguided” he claims to fight. Therefore, he is one of those despots who is the cause of the problems of which he depicts himself as the only solution and, as such, should be overthrown. Reminding that “the prayers of those who support tyrants (and terrorists) will not be accepted”, we send a message to the Chechen soldiers in Ukraine: “In the name of Allāh, the Compassionate, the Most Merciful, do a truly Muslim thing: go home and bring down Ramzan Khadyrov’s regime. Free Chechnya once and for all from both Russian colonialism and the unceasing threat of extremism. You will be credited for this also by the brothers and sisters of the whole Ummah”.
For the Muslims in Ukraine, we pray Allāh swt to give them the strength to resist with “patience” amidst the dramatic circumstances they are experiencing. May the Most High let His presence of peace descend on Ukraine, and on all regions of the world torn by wars and violence.