In the following interview we have discussed about the cultural atmosphere dominant in their country:
Golnaz Jamal lives in Moscow. She has worked in media for 20 years and cooperated with different periodicals. At present, she is the owner of Mosalmanka (Muslim woman) periodical started in 2008 which holds issues about women, Islam and cultural issues.
Besides, Golnaz is an art teacher. She has studied Early Childhood Education and has a 13-year-old daughter.
Anti-Islamic and Anti-Hijab Activities in Russia
There are lots of anti-Islamic and anti-hijab activities in the Russia. In Moscow, Feminism plays an active role in deceiving public thoughts and developing homosexual tendencies.
Thus, we tried not to subject our journal on Muslims only. Even, most who are interested in our articles are non-Muslims, and by reading them their wrong thought about Islam is changed. As a proof, we receive constantly lots of letters from those who are not Muslim declaring how their mind is changed about Islam.
Even, it seams that the articles are more interesting for non Muslim readers due to their wrong knowledge and belief of Islam than Muslims, having already Islamic knowledge. Thus, responses are positive.
Nearly 50 percent of Muslims in Russia might be of middle class. Yet, most of practicing ones are of poor economic class. However there are Muslims among rich but they do not wear hijab or practice Islamic teachings.
Women Problems are not Just Restricted to Hijab in Russia
Banning on the wearing of Hijab for those women who work in the public centres is a huge problem. However our problems are not just restricted to this issue. Moreover, we do not have even Islamic kindergartens or schools that help us raising our children with Islamic education. There are rarely private institutions for learning Turkish and Arabic. It might be found only one of such in Moscow.
Yet, there is a city in one of the Republics (become independent from former Soviet Union) in which there are not such restrictions. Our last article is on introducing this city. There, people do not confront any ban on wearing headscarves neither in educational centres not at work. They say their Gathering or Friday prayers easily and practice Islamic rituals in public society.
Zorfa KHooziva has studied law and journalism. She works in Neisan periodical in Tajikistan. The periodical holds issues on Islam and women. She says that “Neisan” means spring cloud and because we started it in spring we called it “Neisan”.
Cultural and Social Conditions in Tajikistan.
Tajikistan is an Islamic country that has a population of 7200000. 98% of its people are Sunnite. 35% are young and 70% have access to periodicals. Being secular, our Government has a good relationship with west. Wearing hijab in public is prohibited and according to the act that recently has been approved the entrance of those who are under 18 is illegal. Religious activities are controlled and religious and private schools are not allowed have activities. However, there are religious hawzah and Islamic universities but this is not enough.
Concerning the banning of hijab law, I myself was elected in the parliament election but since I wear headscarf I could not enter. I made a complaint against the Supreme Court but they disagreed with being a deputy as I am headscarfed. We try our best in such a society to develop religious life.
I have founded a non governmental organisation called the Neshat dealing with religious and cultural activities. Moreover, it has been a while since I intend to found four other organizations which is partly hols issues on women.
We send missionaries to villages to change their wrong beliefs. Concerning Palestine, For instance, because of west negative propaganda and our government in media, most people think that Palestinian government has occupied the Jewish land. Regarding this, it has been four years that we have started to enliven Quds Day by holding conferences and distributing brochures and leaflets. Also, it has been 2 years that we could organise rallies on Quds Day in different cities.
We organize conferences on different issues. For instance, in the anniversary of the prophet Mohammad (s.a.a.w.) or of Fatimah az- Zahra (peace be upon her) we try to introduce their life to the people and introduce great Ladies of honor such as Zeinab and Fatimah az-Zahra (peace be upon them) as a symbol to the young women.
We develop such beliefs in our website and magazine. For instance, one of the wrong beliefs is that Prophet Mohammad had two daughters: Fatimah and Zahra.
We have two newspapers in our country called Nejat and Islam Message and two magazins meant Promissing Boat and meant “the mission”. We had another magazine called Eqbal (Fortune) that was closed due to the financial problems. However, what we do is not enough comparing 2100 organizations that have western tendencies that do anti Islamic cultural activities.
People of Tajikistan are Eager for Religious Culture
We have more or less problems with the government in achieving our Islamic cultural goals. However, since I am a lawyer and a member of Islamic movement party in Tajikistan, I try to undo the created atmospheres and yet due to the influence I have, I support the other newly established organization.
Most people, especially those in villages, want us to send them missioners. There, people are eager for religious teachings.
Financial Support of Neisan
we have a charity organizations and sometimes we use budgets provided by government for our cultural activities. There has been always a financial problem, but we use partly the charity budget to help poor. For instance, in the Gaza war we sent some aids to the people.
I have three sons: Ahmad, Akmal, Abdollah and one daughter: Zeinab.
First I named my daughter Rahfaza. When she was eight, I sent her to Quran classes for memorizing. At that time she read Motahari’s book on Imam Hussein and Ashoora and then she called herself Zeinab.
Read this exclusive interview in Persian
Translated by Somayeh Mollatabar