On 13 September 2019, the imam of the Moscow mosque “Yardyam”, Mahmud Velitov, was released after serving his full term in prison in Astrakhan. This was announced by his lawyer Dagir Khasavov, who posted on his Facebook page imam’s photo with the caption: “Sheikh Mahmud Velitov is free, and behind IK-8 of the Astrakhan region.”
Earlier, in April this year, the Trusovskiy District Court of Astrakhan repeatedly refused the imam’s request to replace the unserved part of the sentence with a fine. “There is no reason to believe that the convict has firmly embarked on the path of correction,” the judge said then.
Recall that the famous Moscow Imam Mahmud Velitov was sentenced to 3 years in prison in April 2017 for making a dua during a Friday sermon on a murdered Dagestani religious figure, a member of Hizb ut Tahrir Abdullah Gappaev. The court found the imam guilty of acquitting terrorism. The Memorial Human Rights Center recognized Velitov as a political prisoner.
It should be noted that Russia has a very deep historical experience of the persecution and control of the Islamic religious figures, which it began to acquire as early as the 16th century, when the Volga and Urals inhabited by Muslims were occupied. At the end of the 18th century, Catherine the Second established the first spiritual administration of Muslims; the purpose of which was to take control of the entire religious life of Muslims and subject the imams to tsarist rule. From then until today, Muslims regions occupied by Russia have “spiritual authorities of Muslims” that continue to perform the same functions that were laid down in this project 200 years ago. For this reason, it is not so easy to find in the Muslim lands occupied by Russia a sincere, truthful imam or mufti. An absolute majority of them are religious officials who only want to fill their pocket, but you can also meet among them outright crazy, wicked, enemies of Islam and agents.
However, if a sincere person appears among imams or muftis who wants to revive Muslims and Islam, the Russian colonialist will not leave him alone until it kills, or deprives him of freedom, or expels him from the country. As it was in 2015-2016, when the security services killed two Nogai imams – Zamirbek Makhmudov and Ravil Kaybaliev, who fought for the right to wear hijab at school by Muslim students. Or as it was with the Mufti of North Ossetia Ali Evteev who in 2010 in an interview with Regnum directly stated that he dreams of the Caliphate’s revival by the political method of the Prophet ﷺ, after which he was forced to resign and urgently leave the country. The same thing happened with Imam Mahmud Velitov, who made a dua for the martyr (inshaAllah) Abdullah Gappaev.
Thus, the Russian special services will persecute every sincere religious figure and will seek to neutralize all the rebellious, dissenting and resisting Muslims. After all, their goal is a complete submission, political, cultural and ideological assimilation of the colonized Muslim peoples.
Allah Almighty said:
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا يُنفِقُونَ أَمْوَالَهُمْ لِيَصُدُّوا عَن سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ فَسَيُنفِقُونَهَا ثُمَّ تَكُونُ عَلَيْهِمْ حَسْرَةً ثُمَّ يُغْلَبُونَ وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا إِلَى جَهَنَّمَ يُحْشَرُونَ
“Indeed, those who disbelieve spend their wealth to avert [people] from the way of Allah. So they will spend it; then it will be for them a [source of] regret; then they will be overcome. And those who have disbelieved – unto Hell they will be gathered” [8:36]