Abu Umar: even if they kill me, the system will continue to work

Dagestani Israil Akhmednabiyev, known as Abu Umar Sasitlinsky, gained respect among the Muslims of the former Soviet Union by his charitable activities. His first large-scale project was the Khafiz School in the Dagestan village of Novo-Sasitli. Eventually, authorities took away the school, but the trust in Abu Umar has only grown since then. His philanthropic activities developed simultaneously with the preaching work: his lectures on issues relevant to most Muslims were widely distributed on the Internet.

Periodically, the FSB disperses propaganda waves against the preacher and benefactor, seeking to defame his name, and credits him with financing extremist groups. At the same time, members of the security services and the media under their control do not bother to search for plausible facts. The last attempt happened in December 2018. At that time, the FSB claimed that a group of seven people allegedly raised 38 million rubles to finance the Islamic State and Jabhat al Nusra, which the Russian court had banned. It is obvious that the statement of the Chekists was intended for the average reader, who has no idea about the hard confrontation between the mentioned groups. And now a new attempt to defame the name of Abu Umar takes place: in May, the Russian secret services detained a Muslim from Ossetia, who, according to the FSB, organized a shipment of 50 million rubles through the funds controlled by Abu Umar to finance a terrorist organization. According to the wife of the arrested and himself, they never had such amounts of money, and he donated several thousand rubles to the needs of the African poor. “How can you send money to ISIL through Sberbank?” Abu Umar wonders. He is confident that the poor man is simply used in a dirty information war against his charitable initiatives.

h rights activist Tagir Minibayev, commenting on the VAYFOND website information provocation of special services against Abu Umar Sasitlinskiy, suggested that the independence of the preacher and philanthropist, as well as his work to unite the Muslim community,  irritates some Russian authorities. “If a supporter of “traditional” Islam goes to a charitable mission or one who divides Muslims and makes harm to Muslim society, the regime in the Russian Federation will only help them,” said Minibayev. He recalled the story of the Bashkir activist Fazil Akhmetshin, who, during his return from a charity mission in Kenya in 2011, was planted drugs and sentenced to 4 years and 4 months in prison.

Ahimself, information provocations of special services can have temporary success and influence the minds of citizens only in a situation where Muslims do not have their own media. But even under such conditions, any sensible reader realizes that it is unrealistic to spend an amount of tens of millions of rubles through funds accounts without any control these days. Meanwhile, the Living Heart Foundation took into account the experience of provocations and took care of the safety of donors. Residents of Russia and any other country can transfer funds to the official details of the organization, which are legally binding in the UK. You can find more information on the organization’s website.