Responding to the publication of the polemic book Mezhdu vikingom i skifom [Between Viking and Scythian] by one of the movement’s Russian theoreticians, Vadim Sidorov, alias Harun al-Rusi, this article tackles the diffusion of the London-based ‘Murabitun’ Sunni neo-Sufi movement in Russia. Founded by Scottish convert Ian Dalles, alias ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Sufi, the movement has taken, in the framework of the National Organisation of Russian [sic] Muslims, created in 2004, the character of an instrument for assimilation to European culture of Muslim minorities and migrant populations, through the cultivation of “ecstasy, European way [evropeiskii khal],” according to Sidorov’s terminology. The author, a member of the Shiite branch of the NORM, sheds light on the rupture between this organisation’s leaders and historical Islamic thinker Heydar Jemal, and on the NORM’s further rapprochement with Russia’s new right.
She devotes attention to the Murabitun’s theological basis, to their historical philosophy, and to their views on economy. Insisting on the strictly Salafi and anti-Shiite dimension of the Murabitun’s theology, the author develops on the anti-capitalist dimension of the movement’s discourse and (embryonic) social practice. Unfortunately, this interesting study is limited to a critical analysis of Sidorov’s and other theoreticians’ multiple inner contradictions, most of the time without precise mention of works or passages incriminated. Comparative typology of the Murabitun with other neo-Sufi trends active in the Federation of Russia would perhaps have shown more helpful than the opposition of arguments borrowed from diverse Islamic theological traditions, in a mood characteristic of the sometimes pedantic line of the journal Chetki (see our presentation supra review No. 57).
Stéphane A. Dudoignon, National Centre for Scientific Research, Paris