"Alraid" - leading Islamic Organization of Ukraine. Origins and Present
Certainly, the development of Islam in Ukraine in the contemporary history has its background. Though in this context there is similarity with occurring in this direction on the whole post-Soviet territory, for Ukraine its own features are characteristic.
Recollecting an initial stage, the chairman of the all-Ukraine Association of Social Organizations "Аlraid", Ismail Kadi, pays attention to desire of Muslims, as well as representatives of all faiths, after independence of the Soviet republics "to practice its religion". Thus, adherents of Islam initially tried to work according to the law. According to him, in the given direction "the Ukrainian" Muslims planned to make use of the West European experience.
Subtlety in the matter that among the persons aspiring to the development of the Islamic values in Ukraine there were not only natives of the Arab countries (students and workers) and local ethnic Muslims, but also Ukrainians who converted to Islam.
On this background there was an idea of creation of the Islamic organization realized in the form of foundation of the structure "Аlraid" ("Arraid"). The name of the Association meaning "going forward" (leader) arose at the constituent session. The Organization founders aimed at realization of the activity on acquaintance with Islam of the population of Ukraine (as "religion of peace and favor from Allah the Almighty"), and formation of Ukrainian Ummah as the full member of the society and the state.
From the very first days of its existence Alraid exercised popularity among Muslims, and, after a small time interval, the stage of appearance of branches of the structure on places started. When the quantity of the last reached seven, the founders prepared documents for registration of the all-Ukraine Association "Аlraid" which purposes, along with the above-stated, were proclaimed revival of the Muslim culture, charity, educational activity. The last point was a corner stone, and, having become stronger (in all senses), Alraid started carrying out of various actions, publishing activity and opening of "Islam for all" web-site.
For today it is possible to call the structure profile as multi-format, what means, in particular, organization of conferences, active participation in various actions carried out in the country. So, together with "The Ukrainian Centre of Islamic Studies" in Kiev was carried out a scientific colloquium on the topic "Ideological trends in the Islamic world" (with assistance of the leading Ukrainian orientalists); there passed scientific conference "Islamic civilization: history and present". Under the invitation of "Alraid" Kiev was visited by the president of the Federation of Islamic Organizations of Europe, Shakib Benmahluf, the member of the Council of Europe on Fatwa and Research, Jamal Badawi (spoke in the Kiev Islamic Center with lectures on the topic of gender relations; mutual relations of Muslims living in a non-Muslim society with representatives of other religions); the chairman of the council of the European Imams, Heysam Arrahma (spoke on the conference "Islam in Europe: yesterday, today, tomorrow"), etc.
In parallel, "Alraid" takes active part in the actions directed on strengthening of peace and consent in Ukraine, aspiring to the development of mutual relations with representatives of other religions and cultures that is one of the aspects of Muslim piety. Dialogue is conducted taking into account centuries-old Islamic traditions and experience of coexistence and interaction of adherents of Islam and non-Muslims in the EU countries, the CIS, and also in the USA. The Organization was repeatedly visited by the heads and representatives of various faiths, participating in the Association actions. The leaders of Arraid represent this line, as "adjustment of bridges of friendship between people", according to the Revelation words, "We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other" (The Holy Quran, "Hujurat": 13).
At the same time, Alraid is active in participation in many city actions organized by the authorities or private structures, directed for the sake of strengthening of family, personality, society and the state. So, under the invitation of the World Organization "Human Rights", "Alraid" participated in the fourth all-Ukraine conference on human rights. In the end of 2010, within the limits of global celebrating of the world Day of protection of climate under the aegis of the international movement 350.org (unites 187 countries of the world); representatives of Alraid and the RAMU Umma took part in the Day of spiritual service for the sake of life preservation on the Planet. As it was marked thereupon by the Information Department of the Organization, ecological education purposefully influences an individual at all stages of life, formation of ecological consciousnesses, culture, behavior and responsibility therefore is foregrounded. Employees of Alraid take part in another similar actions; thereby using all methods and forms for realization of Divine instructions!
The traditional annual competitions of reciting of the Holy Quran carried out in the Holy Month of Ramadan are also worth mentioning. For example, under the patronage of the World Association on Studying of the Quran "Alraid" together with the RAM of Crimea held the all-Ukraine Competition of Quran in Simferopol (participated over forty Muslims aged from 6 to 25 years). Last year, in the holidays of Kurban-Bayram, Alraid and the RAMU "Ummah" met Muslims of the Zhitomir corrective colony №4. It is the new form of work of the Organization which is becoming traditional. Noble purposes of the given action do not need special explanation. Always actual "Female issue"
It is pleasant that ideologists of the project initially attentively treated attraction to the activity of women. To begin with, at Alraid there was created the department on "work" with Muslim women upon which the structure rested special hopes in business of realization of Islamic appeal in the Ukrainian society (that corresponds to the Quranic, "Who is better in speech than one who calls to Allah" (The Holy Quran, "Fussilat": 33).
Developing this question, organizers recognized that, being high-grade members of the society, Muslim women can combine function of the mistress in the house, establishing coziness for the family, and social work in the blessing of Ummah.
One of the active workers of "a female line" of Alraid, Olga Karima Fryndak, tells that originally they faced some unexpectedness. When the Female Department started its work, among the first visitors of thematic meetings there were many non-ethnic Muslim women who were wives of Muslims. So they admitted that they do not wish to convert to Islam only on a basis of confessional accessory of the spouse. Especially, as mass-media gossip, a Muslim wife is actually deprived rights, and in this connection some of them openly declared fears for their future and the future of their children. Therefore it was necessary to start conversations with them with explaining of the bases of Islam.
Karima with pleasure ascertains that after visiting lessons many of these girls (many of them already became mothers) independently came to the decision to convert to Islam. Thereby, competent explanation of true Islam allowed the doubting to depart from imposed stereotypes. Moreover, having converted to Islam, many entered to it so deeply that started to conduct "educational" work with husbands, ethnic Muslims (!), obliging them, in particular, to perform Friday namaz in a mosque, and with greater responsibility treat performance of the postulates and prohibitions stated in the Quran.
Gradually educational line started to be supplemented and extended. There appeared decisions on the leisure organization when wives and young mothers could share their experience, receive answers to questions which could not be sounded at broad audience, etc. The following step was the organization of trainings with psychologists on education of children; there appeared various circles, including sewing training circle. And in due course the female committee which actually became an independent structure within the limits of Alraid was born.
Command activity captured the whole Ukraine and if at the initial stage there functioned only one Female Social Organization - "Maryam" - covering Kiev and the Kiev region, nowadays operates the versatile female organization (unites all committees on places), regularly carrying out actions of various orientation. Among it there are weekly lessons, trainings (up to the courses on Tajweed, Fiqh, Seera), conferences to which are also invited Ukrainian non-Muslim women. According to the founders of Alraid, this tendency starts with the Quranic principles of reporting of Islam to all people.
The traditional female spring "summits" under the title "Woman of the future" became property of history; a thematic meeting "Muslim woman on a threshold of the third millennium" (Simferopol); the seminar "Allah will rise up, to ranks, those of you who believe and who have been granted Knowledge" (Irpen, Kiev region), etc.
All of it is carried out in parallel to the line of "Alraid" on support of a Muslim family and spiritual education of children. In the given format the meetings dated by the all-Ukraine Day of Family are held. In 2009 there appeared "family seminars" - as a program part of the "Year of a Muslim family", offered by the Federation of the Islamic Organizations of Europe (passed in Donetsk, Kharkov, Vinnitsa...). Within the limits of the program of support and development of the European Muslim family the cycle of broadcasts is prepared and printing materials on family subjects are published.
In the aforesaid context it is expedient to consider the cultural component of "Alraid" which leaders initially showed consideration for the report of Islamic cultural values to various layers of the Ukrainian society. From here is a nonrandomness of successful functioning in Ukraine of some Islamic cultural centers. In each of them operates a mosque, an Internet room, an exercise room. Here there are conditions for fruitful dialogue of Muslims, but it is rather symptomatic that doors of the centers are opened for representatives of other faiths, too. In the light of it there are organized special lessons, Sunday schools for interested persons to study the Arabic language, oriental culture etc.
In total at the present stage "Arraid" includes 20 regional social organizations, over 50 % of which are located in the Islamic cultural centers (their number reached eight: Kiev, Simferopol, Odessa, Kharkov, Donetsk, Vinnitsa, Zaporozhye, Lugansk). Therefore it is quite natural that with a view of increase of the level of work of the Association collective, seminars-trainings on management of personnel and organizations, administrative work and work with the public are regularly carried out.
Hardly Alraid would achieve such huge positive results, if the organization did not put before itself noble purposes and did not wish to serve to the Ukrainian society. But, we will agree, if there was no consent between the heads and support of the given line by rank members, realization of tasks in view would be hard to achieve; as well as in case of absence of support of the state structures.
Well, and the last (or the first?). In the course of the dialogue with the members of Alraid you involuntarily feel their internal Light, the true Nur. Nur is Light in wide understanding; it is both external and internal. That very Nur streams from the eyes of those who work in Alraid. It also attracts the increasing number of Ukrainians to the Light of truth.
Teymur Ataev, the political scientist, Azerbaijan, especially for IslamSNG.com