According to a Radio Free Europe report:
Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov has released а video showing his teenage son, Adam, assaulting a man accused of burning a Koran, an assault that the Kremlin declined to condemn.
The beating, which Kadyrov praises, is the latest piece of evidence underscoring Kadyrov’s impunity as the head of Chechnya, and the Kremlin’s willingness to ignore it.
The Qur’an burner is identified in a Daily Mail report as 19-year-old Nikita Zhuravel, a native Ukrainian “who was held in a detention cell for allegedly burning a copy of Islam’s holy book.” His subsequent beating by the Chechen leader’s 14-year-old son is yet another indicator of Muslim reaction to insult. The incident bears a similarity to the general reaction of the Islamic world to the desecration of Qur’ans that has become somewhat common now in Denmark and Sweden: both show that Islam is intolerant of any perceived insult. Muslim reactions from the highest levels to the village level demonstrate to the world that one’s life and limb are at risk once one insults Muhammad or desecrates a Qur’an.
Although one cannot imagine any Western leader’s son beating up a person who offended Islam or uttered any kind of insult at all, Western resolve is shaky at the moment in the face of Muslim threats over perceived insults to Islam. There has been bullying from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, as well as from the United Nations. Unless the West wants to embrace Sharia, its leaders would do well to adopt a zero-tolerance policy regarding encroachments upon the freedom of expression.
Eyebrows are being raised at Russia’s silence on this matter, but one needs to keep in mind that Russia is not governed by the same laws and philosophies that prevail in Western societies. Although no longer a communist country, Russia is still influenced by the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, which remains the second largest party in Russia. Russia also has a long history and co-dependent relationship with Chechnya. According to Reuters: “The Kremlin relies on its hardline Chechen leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, to maintain order in the violent region in the North Caucasus, where separatists were driven from power a decade ago after two wars.” Ramzan Kadyrov has imposed elements of Sharia in Chechnya; it is the most Islamized region of Russia.
While Putin’s silence on the subject is drawing criticism, free countries such as Sweden and Denmark are even more blameworthy for even considering changing their laws to suit those who are capable of murder to protect Islam.
Russia and Chechnya have a history of war, and now they need each other. In 2020, Russia’s military established control over Chechnya, which is now subsidized by Moscow; Kadyrov has become close friends with Putin, despite the fact that at one time he was anti-Russian and advocated for Chechnya’s separation from Russia. He was affiliated with the Chechen independence movement. Ramzan Kadyrov’s father, Akhmad Kadyrov, was the separatist-appointed mufti of Chechnya. Ramzan followed in his father’s footsteps until Putin appointed him First Deputy Prime Minister of the Chechen Republic in 2004, following the assassination of his father. He then began displaying a loyalty to Putin and Russia that continued to this day; he has been Head of the Chechen Republic since 2007. Last year, Kadyrov called for a Russian “jihad” across all of Ukraine, after he was granted the top rank of general in Russia’s army. He said that the appointment was a “huge honor” for him. Eight months later, in June 2022, Russia signed a contract with a Chechen special forces group, the Akhmat paramilitary group, that has been “waging the Kremlin’s offensive near the town of Mariinka in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine.” The announcement of this contract came one day after “Yevgeny Prigozhin, the chief of Russia’s Wagner group of private mercenaries, refused to sign such a contract.”
It isn’t unreasonable to surmise that given the turbulent past between Russia and Chechnya, and the current deep loyalty between the two leaders, that Russia prefers to maintain stability in its relationship with Chechnya by turning a blind eye to the beating of the alleged Qur’an burner, particularly now, as the war with Ukraine drags on. This is certainly not to justify Putin’s silence, but with Russia turning a blind eye, both country’s interests are served. Putin has even said that anyone found guilty of burning the Qur’an would serve his sentence in Muslim regions of Russia, which is tantamount to saying that the penalty for burning the Qur’an will be death.
The Qur’an burner Zhuravel found himself in a bind, unable to gain any sympathy from either side: as a Ukrainian burning a Qur’an, he wouldn’t receive any protection from Russia, and as an infidel burning a Qur’an, he would be a targeted man in Chechnya. Ramzan Kadyrov also stated of Qur’an burnings in general, as he referenced Nikita Zhuravel as “an accomplice of the Ukrainian security services“:
Moreover, I believe that anyone who infringes on any Holy Scripture, including those who demonstratively burn it and offend tens of millions of citizens of our large country, should be severely punished. Our country has a unique law protecting the Holy Scriptures, signed by the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin.
This case highlights the urgency for free societies, including Sweden, Denmark and all Western countries, to protect their freedom while they still have it. That includes even the right to to offend, as in the case of Qur’an burnings. Unfortunately, far too many Westerners and the mainstream media do not recognize the urgent need to protect the freedom of expression in the face of rising encroachment upon it. Instead, many would find it simpler to take aim at Putin’s appeasement of Kadyrov, because Putin is already despised over the war with Ukraine.
Adam Kadyrov’s beating of 19-year-old Nikita Zhuravel for burning a Qur’an; Christians being attacked and murdered in Pakistan under false accusations of blasphemy; the systemic persecution of Christians and minorities in Islamic jurisdictions; and a teacher getting beheaded in the streets of France for showing Muhammad cartoons in his class, are all reflections of the nature of Sharia, and all demonstrate why it has no place in the West.