Russian MP urges ban on use of ‘Islamist militant’ in mass media

Published December 18, 2014
This picture shows militants patrolling in Syria. — AFP/File
This picture shows militants patrolling in Syria. — AFP/File

A Russian lawmaker has proposed a ban on expressions such as ‘Islamic terrorist’ and ‘Islamist militant’ in the mass media, claiming that they give people the wrong impression about Islam and put ordinary believers at risk, a report published by RT said.

Izvestia daily reported on Wednesday that Shamsail Saraliyev, from Chechnya, came up with the proposal at this week’s session of the State Duma Committee, which was also supported by other Russian MPs.

The newspaper quoted the MP as saying, “Lately the mass media are freely and frequently using expressions like ‘Islamic terrorists’, ‘Islamists’, ‘Jihadists’, ‘Terrorist Islamic State’ and many others of this kind.

“These expressions push people towards the conclusion that Islam and terrorism are synonymous. Common people automatically begin to associate Muslims with bandits, murderers and terrorists.”

However, the majority of Muslims prefer to distance themselves from radical groups, preferring to call them ‘Kharijites’ (dissenters), the MP noted.

Citing example of the supporters of the Islamic State, he said, “The militant group calls itself the Islamic State, but they have absolutely nothing to do with Islam! For them Islam is just a cloak with which they cover their evil deeds!”

The report said the lawmaker reiterated that traditional Islam endorses the virtues of kindness and creation that promotes peaceful coexistence amongst people.

“Just as we don’t call fascists ‘Christians’, we should stop using the term Muslims when we describe radical militant groups who claim to be followers of Islam.”

There are about 20 million Muslims among Russia’s 140-million-strong population. Islam is considered one of the four ‘traditional religions’ in the country, along with Orthodox Christianity, Judaism and Buddhism.

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