We have talked to Chief Rabbi of the Republic of Bashkortostan Dan Krichevsky and found out what the subtleties of peaceful coexistence of religious communities in the region and why it is easier for a believer in Russia than in Europe.
“Can one speak about successful establishment of inter-religious dialogue in Bashkortostan?”
“I cannot name it a dialogue. We live a real life as it is. We, leaders of Jewish, Muslim and Orthodox communities, communicate almost every month; we simply meet, congratulate each other on our birthdays and some religious holidays, as well as learn the latest news. If anybody of us needs some help, we always do our best. And we do it not to show how kind and generous we are. We help ourselves because we are one big family. Everybody has their own worldview, but God is one for everybody – there is only one Father. That is why it is so important to live helping each other and keeping in touch. Only in this case it is possible to move forward”.
“How does this positive experience influence the relations between Russia and the Islamic world?”
“Not so long ago I was in the USA, where the World Jewish Congress was held. Everybody asked about how we lived in Russia in the environment of supposedly lack of speech freedom, under severe sanctions. I answered that I was lucky to live in Russia because there were no encroachment and obstacles. On the contrary – if you try to hide your faith, people will start thinking that you are not a principled person. Nobody here is ashamed to stick to the postulates of their religion, while respecting the representatives of other views. Draw your attention to the fact that in Australia, for instance, there are guards at every synagogue, parish or mosque. It is connected with their fear that there are not quite adequate people who can afford to do anything they want towards other citizens. And in Russia everybody can enter any temple without fear and you will not find any security. It costs a lot”.
The interviewer: Ilmira Gafiyatullina