An attack on 40 displaced Muslims from Bangladesh occurred in Athens recently. When the refugees sheltered in a basement used as a mosque, members of the Golden Dawn right-wing extremist group attacked the basement. What can you say about this?
It is frustrating to hear of the activity of radical extremist groups that are a long way from humanism and humanity in the 21st century. It is even more frustrating to state that the current activity of radical right-wing forces is gaining steam throughout Europe, not only in Greece. These powers are trying to focus all the outrage at problems in their countries on immigrants. This is an extremely erroneous and negative trend which does not lead to the resolution of problems in these countries but promotes an increase in the number of problems that logically arise from a growth of national and religious intolerance, which is demonstrated by extremist groups of right-wing radicals.
When a radical Muslim group takes extremist action, European media create a stir. Why are they silent at the demonstration of such open national and religious intolerance in Athens?
There are independent journalists who consider substantial, impartial coverage of any event to be their main role in leading world and European media. But at the same time, it has to be admitted that leading world, including European, media, are not always impartial, they are often engaged and are more concerned with the more profitable promotion of those who pay them for their service rather than with comprehensive and honest coverage of any event. This is wrong and finally leads to the loss of influence of these publications with a fall in their readership.
Do these problems exist in the post-Soviet area, in particular in Russia?
After visiting Moscow recently and meeting representatives of the Azerbaijani diaspora living in the capital, I learned that they do not feel fully protected from displays of national and religious hatred in this megalopolis. I often heard advice not to go out alone, especially late at night. The post-Soviet area also has the same negative trends as leading European countries. In both cases people try to find the reasons for their own problems in immigrants, which often has an undesirable effect.
You mentioned your recent visit to Moscow. What did you do there?
I attended an international Islamic conference held at the initiative of the Russian University of Friendship of Peoples, Moscow Lomonosov State University and the Russian Academy of Sciences. One of the subjects of the conference was understanding Islamic philosophy. It was noted that today there is no single understanding of the philosophy of Islam, that there is a need for further work on this.