Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 7 Issue: 7

The separatist Daymohk news agency on February 13 carried a statement by the rebel movement’s foreign ministry condemning the decision by “the occupying authorities” to ban the Danish Refugee Council’s activities in Chechnya (see Chechnya Weekly, February 9).

“For many years of the continuing Russian-Chechen war, the staff of this organization have been doing their best to render humanitarian aid to thousands of Chechen families who lost the roof over their head and material support as a result of military aggression by Russian occupiers,” the statement read. “It is well known that the active humanitarian work of this organization prevented to some extent the Kremlin’s criminal intentions of carrying out total genocide of the Chechen people. The Russian authorities have spent a long time looking for a pretext to neutralize the activities of the Danish Refugee Council. The provocation carried out by journalists of the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten depicting the Prophet Muhammad is only a pretext to put an end to the activities of this organization. The Kremlin’s puppet [acting Chechen Prime Minister Ramzan] Kadyrov only expressed what the Russian authorities have been dreaming of for a long time. In this regard, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria [ChRI] strongly condemns the Kremlin’s actions directed at neutralizing the activities of the international humanitarian organization—the Danish Refugee Council. In turn, the official authorities of the ChRI thank the head of this organization for the free aid that their staff have been giving the long-suffering Chechen people for many years.”

Meanwhile, Chechnya’s mufti, Sultankhadzhi Mirzaev, warned that the Danish authorities do not recognize the potential consequences of their “stubbornness” concerning the scandal surrounding the publication of cartoon caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, Interfax reported on February 13. “There is no other way to take the plans to publish the well-known caricatures in textbooks and put them up in a museum,” the mufti said. It was unclear from where he had received information that the caricatures would be printed in textbooks and displayed in a museum in Denmark.

“The whole world is indignant at what are completely open insults to the Prophet Muhammad and the religious feelings of Muslims, sober-minded people all over the world are concerned over what is happening and fear that the situation may become irreversible, and Denmark is the only country where they keep throwing oil on the flames,” the Chechen mufti said. Freedom of speech has nothing to do with “the blackening of the messenger of Allah,” he added. “The majority of comments use the wrong emphasis in assessing the Muslim reaction. It would have been exactly the same if the issue centered on Christ, Moses, Abraham, or Solomon, because every Muslim reveres, recognizes and respects them.”