International Forum

On 3 October in Assisi Pope Francis will sign his third encyclical “Omnes fratres. On brotherhood and social friendship.” The content of the new encyclical is still unknown, but it is expected to be devoted to the “style” of human co-existence during and after the Coronavirus pandemic. The Vatican says that the Pontiff’s missive will touch on many themes that he discussed throughout the year, one of which is interreligious dialogue.

The Muslim world has suffered a great loss - the earthly life of our elder and wise brother Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Tashiri has ended. He devoted many years of his life to the activities of the World League for the Rapprochement of Madhhabs, and all recent years was an adviser to the supreme leader of Iran on issues of the Islamic world. Ayatollah Tashiri was loved and respected in the Islamic world as a theologian who made an enormous contribution to the intra-Islamic dialogue, to overcoming the mutual alertness between Muslims-representatives of various sects and madhhabs.

Mohammad Ali Tashiri was well known among Russian Muslims and our brothers in the Commonwealth of Independent States. I can confidently say that he loved Russia and the Russian Ummah, because he invariably responded to the invitation of Russian Muslims to take part in one or another significant scientific or theological event. His last visit to our country took place due to the invitation of Mufti Gainutdin to the VI International Scientific and Practical Conference "Fakhretdinov Readings" on the topic "Islam in the Global World: Muslim Heritage and Intercultural Dialogue" in September 2019. He invariably delivered a message about peace, dialogue, mutual love and harmony. The authority of Ayatollah Tashiri in the dialogue between madhhabs and Islamic movements will certainly be lacking.

Another issue of the international journal “Minaret of Islam” has come out. It contains the main results of one of our traditional annual meetings, the 15th Muslim International forum, which took place from 9-11 December 2019 in Berlin.

The commemorative event, which brought together eminent guests from practically all corners of the world, dealt with one of the most important themes of modernity – the interaction between secular and religious identities and how they coexist in contemporary Western countries. Europe is on the verge of great transformations. Muslims are becoming an active part of society with their right to vote and are displaying a lifestyle that is somewhat untypical for European society, thus giving a positive answer to the question: is there a new stage after secularism?

The materials from the conference published in this issue are devoted to analyzing this phenomenon, examining its historical premises and forecasting the future. In particular, one can read the presentations of Mufti Sheikh Ravil Gaynutdin; head of the department of religious affairs of Turkey, Ali Erbas; head of the department of fatwas at the Dar al-Ifta in Egypt, Dr Ahmed Mamduh; muftis Mevlud Dudich, Serikbay Oraz and Yusuf Murad; the now deceased president of the union of Islamic communities of Spain, Riyaya Tatari Bakri; and other prominent figures from religious and academic communities.

The new issue will soon be available on the official site of “Medina” publishing house:

On August 4 in the evening, in the area of ​​the seaport of Beirut near the Lebanese naval base, thundered a powerful explosion. According to preliminary data, more than 100 people died, the number of victims exceeded 4 thousand. The blast wave damaged buildings in the surrounding areas of Beirut within a radius of several kilometers. The building of the Russian diplomatic mission was also damaged. The Executive Secretary of the MIF Damir Mukhetdinov expresses his condolences in connection with the tragic incident:

On behalf of Russian Muslims and myself, I express my deepest condolences in connection with the tragedy that shook the capital of Lebanon. As we know, the states of the Middle East, which once became the cradle of the three great Abrahamic religions, in recent decades, unfortunately, have been engulfed in ruthless and all-destructive military actions. Coupled with the situation of the coronavirus pandemic, which has affected the entire planet this year, what happened on Lebanese soil finds a particularly woeful response in human hearts. The loss of loved ones and injury is truly the hardest test.

The Secretary General of the MIF, Chairman of the Spiritual Directorate of Muslims of the Russian Federation and the Council of Muftis of Russia, Mufti Sheikh Ravil Gainutdin on behalf of the Muslim clergy and the Muslim Ummah of Russia expressed condolences in connection with the loss of life and the large number of injured in the explosion in the capital of Lebanon on August 4:

"I express my sincere condolences in connection with the explosion in the port of Beirut, which entailed many human casualties, hundreds of injuries and mutilations, large-scale destruction. Lebanon suffered a truly national grief and shock. In this difficult hour, Muslims of Russia express their sympathy and sincere empathy to the people. Lebanon, they grieve along with those who lost loved ones in this tragedy. Indeed, we are all from Allah and to Him our return. We pray to Allah Almighty for mercy to the souls of the lost, for the healing of the victims and patience for those who have suffered loss.

During the days of the blessed month of Ramadan, firmly believing in the limitless mercy of Allah and overflowing with hope in His help and love during these days of hardship and trial, I turn to my brothers in Abrahamic faith with words of solidarity and fraternal support. I am grateful to our Christian brothers as represented by the head of the Roman Catholic church, Pope Francis, for the idea of unifying the religions in prayer and fasting to end the Coronavirus pandemic. I also thank our brother, sheikh Ahmad at-Tayyid of al-Azhar university, who has supported this call in the name of fraternal love and mutual understanding between our communities.

Muslims throughout the world are keeping the fast in the month of Ramadan and are prostrating to the Lord with additional prayers. However, prayer and fasting are types of religious practice whose foundations were laid by our common forefather Abraham. May 14 2020 has been chosen to show the unity of different religions and confessions, each one according to its own tradition, in fasting and turning in prayer to the Lord, thereby serving as a reminder of the unity of our roots and the common joint responsibility that we bear before the Creator for upholding the harmony and order of the world He created.

The 9th of May will stay in our memory as the day of national proud for our country and our people. We sincerely wish you all strong health, peaceful sky, happiness and prosperity.

We, participants of the 15th International Muslim Forum / IMF /, organized in Berlin by the Permanent Secretariat of the IMF (Moscow), the Religious Board of Muslims of the Russian Federation (Moscow), and the Islamic Federation of Berlin, having discussed the moral and legal grounds, prerequisites, and prospects for further development of interreligious and intercultural dialogue in response to the modern universal human civilizational and geopolitical process, are herewith for the following:

1.              Communication of nations, communities, and cultures based on the desire for mutual comprehension and cooperation is natural, stemming from the moral nature of man. In the light of the migration processes that have taken up an all-embracing and irreversible nature, due to both economic and environmental factors, as well as military operations, the inter-civilizational and interreligious dialogue becomes not only an uncontested condition for the sustainable development of communities; it is being transformed from transnational cross-border phenomenon into the process, which holds modern societies together from the inside at the level of local communities, professional guilds, the humanitarian sphere from philosophy, literature, and visual arts to charity and volunteer movements. In this regard, participants of the 15th International Muslim Forum highlight the great importance of creating and developing platforms and initiatives that help representatives of different cultures understand each other and overcome various prejudices.

Interreligious dialogue: the agreement of the different. The statement of Damir Muhetdinov
Damir Mukhetdinov's condolences on the death of Ayatollah Muhammad Ali Tashiri
New issue of “Minaret of Islam”
The Executive Secretary of the MIF expressed condolences to the families of the victims of the explosion in Beirut
Mufti Gainutdin on behalf of Russian Muslims expressed condolences in connection with the loss of life due to the explosion in Beirut
An expression of fraternal support for leaders of the different religions who are engaging in joint prayer and fasting to end the pandemic
The Religious Board of Muslim of the Russian Federation and Muslim International Forum congratulates on Victory day.
Resolution of the 15th Muslim International Forum