Will Mufti Allahshükür Hummat Pashazade receive the Nobel Peace Prize?

  • 05.Oct ‘20
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The chairman of the Caucasian Muslims Office, Sheikh-ul-Islam Allahshükürm Pashazade has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. The information about this nomination was announced by the Nobel Information Center of Azerbaijan, which since its establishment in 1996 has been submitting an application for one of the Azerbaijani figures, but each time they failed. That is more interesting is that the current US President Donald Trump is also aspiring to get the Nobel Peace Prize this year.

Before estimating the real prospects of becoming a Nobel laureate, it is necessary to get acquainted with Pashazade. Allahshükürm Hummat oglu belongs to that thinning stratum of the post-Soviet Muslim clergy, which is usually called “Bukharan mullahs”, they are namely those religious leaders who received Islamic education during the Soviet time in the Mir Arab madrasah in Bukhara. Pashazade is almost the same age as his Russian counterpart, chairman of the Central Muslim Spiritual Board Talgat Tadzhuddin, and their life paths are very alike. Both graduated from the Bukhara Mir Arab madrasah and the Tashkent Islamic Institute during the Leonid Brezhnev’s reign. They both became muftis in the same year. In 1980, Tadzhutdin became the head of the CMSB of Russia, and Pashazade became the head of the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of the Transcaucasus. They both are the only two from the post-Soviet space who have received the spiritual title of Sheikh-ul-Islam. Obviously, they have received this title at the congresses of their muftiats as all participants were dependent on them. Thus both of them proclaimed themselves muftis for life.

Pashazade decided to change the name the CMSB of Transcaucasia into the Office of Muslims of the Caucasus in 1992, declaring his claims to leadership not only in Azerbaijan, but in the entire North Caucasus region. The fact that very few people in the Russian North Caucasus recognize him is pretty understandable as firstly, it is strange enough if a foreign mufti is perceived by the muftis of the South of Russia as their leader. Secondly, it would be even more strange if a Shiite religious leader were recognized as a spiritual leader over the Sunnis. Nevertheless, Pashazade is still a spiritual leader for a small part of the believers, the Shiites of Dagestan, in the North Caucasus, whose mosques are located in Makhachkala, Derbent and the village called Miskindzhi.

Pashazade created the Consultative Council of Muslims of the CIS in Moscow in 2019 and headed it himself. Though it does not mean that he has the ability to really influence the affairs of the muftiats of the republics of the former USSR in any way.

Pashazade was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2015 for the first time. One year earlier, the Nobel Information Center of Azerbaijan even published the book “Sheikh ul-Islam Allahshukur Pashazade – a prominent religious figure and goodwill ambassador” in three languages, but the PR campaign did not work and Pashazade did not receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

It is also pointless to expect that this time he will succeed in becoming a Nobel laureate. As everyone still remembers that in 2008 he publicly stated that it was useless to negotiate with the Armenians on the resolution of the Karabakh conflict, because as he claimed “lies and betrayal are in the blood of Armenians.” Therefore, he was condemned for these words not only by Armenians, but even in his homeland. Back then the imam of the Cathedral Juma Mosque in Baku, Haji Ilgar Ibrahimoglu, declared the inadmissibility of such remarks coming from the Muslim leader. Hence, such behaviour certainly does not quite correspond to the image of a “goodwill ambassador”. In the West, people also will not let him forget the fact that he closed Salafi mosques in his country in 2014. Namely, The Mosque of the Martyrs, the Abu Bakr Mosque and the Mosque in Mushfigabad.

Therefore, despite his undoubted merits in peacekeeping issues as Pashazade personally went to Afghanistan to negotiate with the Mujahideen on the release of Soviet soldiers and despite his high international authority as he is on the board of the Organization of the Islamic Conference and organizes an international summit of religious leaders, still Sheikh-ul- Islam Allahshükürm Pashazade is unlikely to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. At least this year.

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