The Russian Council of muftis, the group a Sunni Islamic scholars in charge of interpreting or expounding Islamic law in the country, have come up with a proposal to publish a new version of the Quran translated into Russian. The measure is a reaction to the events that took place two months ago, when the court banned the version of the Quran that had been previously used in the country for a decade.
Rushan Abbyasov, deputy head of the Council of muftis, stated that the translation project would be discussed during Russia’s Interreligious Council, to be held on December 18. Although there were some rumours suggesting that the translation was going to take place in conjunction with that of the Holy Bible, Abbyasov has already discredited them. He stated that a translation of the Quran needs to be carried out by a Muslim, while the Bible must be in turn translated by the Orthodox Church. Therefore no joint translation project could be possible.
Opposition to the Ban
The ban caused opposition among the Muslim communities living in the country and the Council’s reaction to come up with a new version. The translator of the banned version, Elmir Kuliyev, has decided to appeal the decision. On his part, Abbyasov has publicly opposed to the decision himself, which he regarded as the destruction of the Quran. Alexander Verkhovsky, director of the SOVA Center for Information and Analysis, stated that there is no actual reason why that version should be banned as opposed to any other and added that texts seem to be chosen randomly. Even Russian President Vladimir Putin has stressed the need to solve the problems related to the translation of the Quran, while he added that bans on books generally have a considerably negative effect on the population.
Article 282 of the Criminal Code
The old version of the Quran was banned under Article 282 of the Criminal Code, which is against incitement of religious enmity, as well as national or racial enmity and abasement of human dignity. The law was passed hoping it would help Russia battle militancy and radicalism, although many citizens have complained that it is too broad and can be easily manipulated into a tool to keep control over opposition.