Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Caucasus Report

Muslims In Daghestan, Azerbaijan Call For Boycott Of New Year Celebrations

Some Azerbaijanis argue that Muslims should not celebrate the New Year, as it is "a Christian festival" that "has  nothing to do with Muslims."
Some Azerbaijanis argue that Muslims should not celebrate the New Year, as it is "a Christian festival" that "has nothing to do with Muslims."
Some Muslim groups in Daghestan and Azerbaijan have called for a ban on the public celebration of the New Year. Their rationale for doing so differs, however.

For the second consecutive year, some Daghestani Muslims -- both Sufis and Salafis -- have called on fellow believers not to participate in what they consider the pagan tradition of celebrating the New Year.

Akhmad Anchikhsky, imam of the controversial Kotrov Salafi mosque in Makhachkala, told the Caucasus Knot website that adherents of all strains of Islam in Daghestan were unanimous in affirming that Muslims should not celebrate the New Year. It was, Anchikhsky pointed out, neither an Islamic nor a Daghestani holiday, but not a Christian one either.

Siradjudin-hadji Akhmedov, deputy imam of a Sufi mosque in Makhachkala, similarly stressed that the New Year is not a Muslim holiday. He expressed disapproval both of the ecological damage caused by the large-scale felling of New Year trees, and the risk posed by New Year's Eve fireworks, and of the fact that some Muslims nonetheless mark the New Year by drinking toasts to Allah.

Theologian Abdulla Rinat Mukhametov, for his part, noted strong opposition in Daghestan to celebrating the New Year, with prominent sportsmen and religious figures posting video clips on the Internet urging believers not to do so.

Last year, senior Daghestani officials took a stance on the issue. Then-President Magomedsalam Magomedov categorically rejected all objections to the celebration, declaring that "we are a secular republic within a secular state." Days later, police in Khasavyurt, Daghestan's second-largest city, detained 10 young men distributing leaflets calling on people not to celebrate the New Year. 

In his New Year's address, Interior Minister Major General Abdurashid Magomedov echoed the president, to whom he is not related, stressing how much Daghestanis of all ages enjoy the New Year festivities, especially children. In a seeming contradiction, the minister affirmed that "no one has ever tried to link [the New Year] with any religious convictions or prejudices." At the same time, he claimed that "each of us believes that miracles happen during the night from December 31-January 1 and dreams come true."

Meanwhile, in Azerbaijan, the Islamic Party of Azerbaijan (IPA) appealed 10 days ago to the Spiritual Board of Muslims of the Caucasus to ban public New Year's celebrations because this year December 31 coincides with the anniversary of the deaths of the Prophet Muhammad and of Imam Hassan. (Hassan was one of the 12 imams who were direct descendants of the Prophet and are venerated for that reason by Shi'ite Muslims, who are estimated to outnumber Sunnis in Azerbaijan by a ratio of 2:1.)

Acting IPA Chairman Elchin Manafov explained that "the day of the death of the Prophet Muhammad is a day of mourning for every Muslim. We are a Muslim country. We should show respect to the memory of the Prophet. That is why this year we propose refraining from New Year celebration."

Manafov went on to point out that January 2 marks the anniversary of the death of Imam Reza, while January 3 is the last day of the Muslim month of Muharram, during which it is not appropriate to hold celebrations. For that reason, Manafov said, New Year festivities should not begin until after that date.

Theologian Shahin Gasanli, head of the congregation of Baku's Meshadi Dadash Shi'ite mosque, similarly advocated refraining this year from celebrating the new year, given that it coincides with the anniversary  of the death of the Prophet. But he said no one should be forced to comply with that advice.

Gamet Suleymanov, who heads the congregation of the Abu-Bekr Salafi mosque, was more categorical, arguing that Muslims should not celebrate New Year this year or any other year, as it is "a Christian festival" that "has  nothing to do with Muslims." The Abu-Bekr mosque was closed after a bomb attack in August 2008; Azerbaijan's National Security Ministry last month detained two men suspected of plotting to blow up the Meshadi Dadash mosque.

There has been no official ruling from either the Spiritual Board of Muslims of Daghestan or the Spiritual Board of Muslims of the Caucasus in response to the ongoing debate.

As for Chechnya, republic head Ramzan Kadyrov, who positions himself as the defender of traditional Sufi Islam, apparently sees no problem in entering into the spirit of Christmas and New Year: on December 29 he showed up to chair a session of the Chechen government dressed as Father Frost.
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Comment Sorting
by: Isaac Silverman from: Jerusalem
December 31, 2013 22:29
As article indicates and most people know, New Year celebration are non-religious and are not affiliated with any faith, it's just HUMAN to celebrate the New Year. Now, I'm at a loss as how Azerbaijan dares to meddle in the internal affairs of Russia. Last time I checked Dagestan is in Russia. Dictator Aliyev should mind his own (dirty) business stealing Azerbaijan's wealth and enriching his own corrupted circle. I'm not sure if this one will go down with Russia.

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
January 01, 2014 00:39
It shouldn't be so fundamentally intolerant.
New Year is just an end of business-finance period.
People observe it, without necessary "pagan" in mind.
Christ and Mohamed were relatives, same God blessed.

One descendent of Kings of lost Media and part Median,
Tamar, married descendent of Iber and Abraham, Juda,
Brought together by Star of Bethlehem, refresh Iberians,
God's laws - Hospitality and Nobility of Souls and Hearts.
Mohamed was descendent of Medians from Holly Mount.

He inherited Median blood and Old and New testaments,
If not laws of the desert, he was not unlike the Georgians.
His descendent also inherited blood of Abraham and Iber.
Who is constantly instigating feuds? The Russia-crowbar?
Bolshevik-Monarchist empire makes excuse blame victim?
In Response

by: Martin from: Edinburgh
January 07, 2014 12:11
You need a lesson in history as well as Islamic teachings, though it is obvious you know a good bit about mythology!
Jesus' genealogy is given twice in the New Testament. He was no relation of Mohammad's.
Read what the Koran and Haddith slanders about Jews. Jesus said "Salvation is of the Jews" [John 4:22] and told the Samaritan woman that she didn't know what she worshipped, rebuking her for claiming to worship the God of Israel.
The Resurrected Christ, in heaven, still is a Jew [Revelation 5:5]. In Genesis we are twice told that those who curse the Jews will be cursed and Paul the Apostle hammers that point home in the New Testament [Romans 11].
Mohammad knew very little of the Bible and slaughterd the people of Medina after promising them clemency. The Old and New Testaments forbid lying and murder, both of which Islam endorses [Taqqiya and Jihad].
As to blaiming the victims: Islam does that all the time.
The Arabs sided with Hitler and the Nazis who also blamed their victims.
If Moslems knew anything about the Bible they would know that Christmas and New Year are nothing to do with Christianity.
Mohammad could not be blessed as Jesus' Own words show.
Look at how the Moslem nations have been cursed and still are cursed: When they're not a war with others they are at war with themselves. How is that blessed?
Look at Russia. Another cursed nation.
Now America and Britain are getting the same curses . God blesses those who bless Israel and curses those who curse them. America till recent times blessed Israel. Now they and us British are being cursed. We have deserted our Christian heritage and are now listening to Catholics, Moselms and other enemies of Israel.
The Bible prophesies in detail all that would happen and it's happening now.
In Response

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
January 12, 2014 15:02
Jesus - "Star of Bethlehem" was over old Media and than over
Mary head, where both parents and angels met.
"Star of Bethlehem" came again, from over old Media to Bethlehem, on birth of Jesus, followed by three princes, from the same area of Media, once South-Eastern pre-Georgia,
old United nations, destroyed by Persia.
Genealogy of Jesus mentioned only his mother, even so,
her for-father, descendent of Iber from South pre-Georgia,
was married to Tamar, from Median tribe that lived at Moab,
not far from Holly Mount where a Median tribe of Moses's father in law settled before that.
Mohamed was descendent of the same Median Tribe from
Holly Mount, the holders of the "Black Stone".
He was given in oral translation both Old and New Testament
by a Jewish scholar from Medina.
Arab tradition and politics, instigated by Chaldeans, as they did before to Persians and other powers, has nothing to do with Mohamed believes and genealogy.
You sound like a Russian, dwelling among Scotland Germans
and pretending to be a Nazi Jew - who is paying?

by: Imam Faruq Hunter from: The People's Mosque
January 01, 2014 22:03
We're Muslim - We Partied:

by: daryl from: alberta
January 04, 2014 23:36
Again, other countries as like their own people, cultures & beliefs, trying to change other peoples beliefs & cultures around the world. Don't come to ours and visit, stay in your own!
In Response

by: sandmartinpage from: semarang
January 07, 2014 02:51
don't worry we'll never come to visit alberta or canada.but one thing you should know,I don't think what is different this year,next year or last year those celebrate are same,so this is my reason why.this is not about british commonwealth i think you know what is tolerance like british do.

About This Blog

This blog presents analyst Liz Fuller's personal take on events in the region, following on from her work in the "RFE/RL Caucasus Report." It also aims, to borrow a metaphor from Tom de Waal, to act as a smoke detector, focusing attention on potential conflict situations and crises throughout the region. The views are the author's own and do not represent those of RFE/RL.