Sunday, October 16, 2005

Elena Chudinova - Russia's Orianna Fallaci

Window on Eurasia: Russian Novelist Does 'Not Want to Live in a Moscow Caliphate'

(September 22, 2005)
Paul Goble

Tartu, September 22 – Elena Chudinova, the author of the already notorious dystopian novel "The Mosque of Notre Dame de Paris," says that she would rather live in a Russia controlled and garrisoned by the Americans than in a Moscow where the Russian Federation's own Muslims have established a caliphate.

In an interview published in the current issue of "Politicheskiy zhurnal," Chudinova said that if Russia were occupied by the Americans – something which she does not like to contemplate -- she and other Russians "would again compose anecdotes, start up samizdat – and live just as we did under Soviet power" ( ).

But if the Muslims were to succeed in establishing their own rule in Moscow, she continued, then Russian culture, Russians as a people and Russia itself would cease to exist. And because that danger is not unthinkable, she said, she had written her novel calling for a struggle against what she says is the Islamic threat to the Christian world.

Challenged by her interviewer on the criticism her book has received since being released at the Moscow book fair earlier this month, Chudinova refused to back down on any point. She said she was "an enemy of all-human values," preferring instead national and religious ones and said she was struggling for her right not to know anything about Islam. [That's a right we lost a long time ago.]

The former children’s book writer insisted that recent events in Europe and elsewhere had proven once and for all that "a dialogue between our civilizations [Christian and Muslim] was impossible," and that all attempts to promote it, however well-intentioned, were doomed to complete and total failure.

Asked whether she did not think that her views might have the effect in the Russian Federation of driving the country's moderate Muslims into the hands of the fundamentalists and thus further dividing Russian society, Chudinova unapologetically said that such an outcome was "very possible."

Muslims, she insisted, even moderate ones like the Tatars and Bashkirs, increasingly are drawn to radicalism by the Internet, an institution that has undermined traditional Islam and give the radicals the chance to propagate their views and win over those Muslims who had opposed them.

She added that the Russian Empire had been much too tolerant of its Muslim subjects
and had allowed them "freedom" of religious belief, a tragic mistake for which the Russian writer said contemporary Russians are now "paying for and one she implied should be corrected by a much harsher policy now against the country's Muslim citizens.

Russians as a cultural community must defend themselves, she insisted, by defending their culture and, together with other Christian nations, fighting off the Islamic challenge that threatens the Russian world and the Christian West.

Doing so will not be easy, Chudinova said, because only a relatively tiny share of Russians are in fact committed Orthodox Christians. But at the same time, she indicated that a committed minority could make all the difference, winning over the country's intellectuals and thus putting Muslims on the defensive.

At the end of her interview, Chudinova ringingly asserted that for her "only one thing is important: I read Dostoyevskiy and listen to Rachmaninov and I want people living fifty years from now [to do the same]. I speak Russian and I want them to speak it too," something she said that could be guaranteed only by struggling against Muslims now.

Book comment from NOK: Author of the Mosque of Notre Dame de Paris hopes her book will help Christians come back to Christ

Moscow, September 9, Interfax - Author Elena Chudinova of the Mosque of Notre Dame de Paris book that caused a stir, does not think that her novel makes inter-religious strife.
Interfax correspondent reports that a journalist called the presentation of the book at the All-Union Exhibition Centre on Friday unconstitutional. She considers the book to be politically incorrect.
The author responded that ‘as the Muslims propagate their religion, Christians can do likewise’.
‘My novel does not make inter-religious strife, but rather invites Christians to come back to Christ’, Chudinova underscored.
Press secretary Olga Golosova of Lepta-Press publishing house said: ‘When people abandon Christ, their souls become empty. This emptiness is filled by Islam in Western Europe’.
Popular frontman Mikhail Leontiev said at the presentation that he liked the idea. Leontiev invited the readers not to be afraid of a possible negative reaction. ‘Brawlers do not mind how to interpret the book - they will make a row anyway’, he emphasized.
‘Notre Dame de Paris Mosque’ is an antiutopia, the action takes place in the mid-21st century. Islam becomes the EU state religion, while Christians and other Europeans are forced to live in ghetto. A small group of the Resistance movement refuses to live according to the Shariat laws and fight for their rights with the new masters of Europe.

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