Kadyrov accuses U.S. religious freedom report for Chechnya of bias

The conclusions drawn by the U.S. State Department Office of International Religious Freedom regarding the situation in Russia are intentionally biased, Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader of Russia's Chechen Republic, said.

Kadyrov accused the report authors of deliberately offering false conclusions depicting the situation with religious freedom in Chechnya and Russia as a whole.

"Allegations that Chechnya distorts "the Chechen Sufi traditions in order to justify its policies" cannot be treated seriously. What Sufi traditions are they talking about? What distortions do they have in mind? Is it the State Department's business how we pray? They have no idea what Sufism means. Otherwise, they would not be speaking about any Chechen Sufi traditions. Sufism and traditions have nothing in common. These are different things," Kadyrov was quoted by his press service as saying.

"We strictly obey all requirements of our Islamic religion. We do so because we are Muslims, not because we want to please America. Even if the commission writes a hundred reports a day, we will pray and follow the regulations of the Quran and the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad," he said.

Kadyrov promised to continue "urging young girls to wear head scarves, as required by Islam."

"But no one has ever forced them to wear them. Those who believe sincerely and have firm Islamic convictions dress as befits a Muslim. But there is no need to force them to do so. No one has assumed these functions," he said.

Describing his attitude to Wahhabism, Kadyrov said that "there will never be any followers of Wahhabi Islam in Chechnya, even if the U.S. criticizes me for it a million times.'

"It is an evil, a plague. Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed or injured because of Wahhabism followers. We do not see any difference between Wahhabism and terrorism. It is how the Prophet assessed them. If they [the report authors] care of them so strongly, let them bring these people to their country and take care of them. Let's see how they will start to wail in half a year," Kadyrov said.

"Actually, no one in America cares about human rights in Chechnya," he said.

Attempts by any U.S. commissions and agencies to point out anything to Chechnya are absolutely inappropriate, "especially as these pieces of advice are quite primitive," the Chechen leader said.

"The U.S. itself violates both human rights and animal rights. They did everything they could to stop my horse from taking part in a race there. The sole reason for it was my horse's top-seeding. My horse won. Let them deny it entry into America, let them close its "visa," Kadyrov said.

Commenting on the commission's call to "freeze bank accounts", Kadyrov said: "Let them freeze all accounts and everything I own in America. I have never had any bank accounts there. It runs counter to my principles."

"The Chechen Republic has a free and open society, which fully enjoys all rights and freedoms guaranteed by the constitutions of Russia and Chechnya," he said.

"All conditions have been created both for Muslims and Christians. The groundbreaking ceremony for a synagogue took place. Mosques, churches, madrasas and huffaz schools are being built. Muslims go on pilgrimages to Mecca, and Christian pilgrims travel to their sacred sites. There has not been a single religious or ethnic conflict," Kadyrov said.

"Our remarks are probably too emotional, but we are tired of endless attempts to teach us things these commissions themselves know nothing about," he said.

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