Over recent weeks, the Russian media noted many signs of the increase of Muslim activity in the country.
Islam is the second largest religion in the Russian Federation. According to official statistics there are 9.4 million Muslims in Russian Federation, which represents 6.5% of the Russian population. However, many believe the number may be as much as twenty million. (In August 2005, the head of the Council of Muftis of Russia Ravil Gainutdin announced that 23 million Muslims live today in Russia.) Muslim population in Russia is constantly increasing due to influx of Muslims from the former Soviet Muslim Republics.
In 1991, Russia had about 300 mosques, now there are at least 8000. At the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union and the formation of the Russian Federation in Russia, there was not a single Islamic school. Currently Russia has registered 3098 Islamic schools.
According to unofficial statistics there are more than 1.5 million Muslims in Moscow today. Thus, the capital of Russia has the largest Muslim community in Europe.
Russia’s Muslims live mainly in two areas: in the Volga region, including Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, Udmurtia, Chuvashia, Republic of Mari- El, and also in such Russian cities as Ulyanovsk, Astrakhan, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg.
Another area with a predominantly Muslim population in Russia is the North Caucasus, home to some 5.4 million Muslims.
The number of Russian Slavs is decreasing. Therefore, some analysts believe that by the end of the 21st century the majority of Russia’s population will be Muslim.
On September 27 Muslim demonstrations took place in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Chelyabinsk, Ufa, Kazan, Orenburg and Tyumen.
The initiator of the campaign has been an Islamic political party “Hizb ut-Tahrir” – an extremist organization banned in Russia.“Hizb ut-Tahrir” is funded directly from Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Hizb ut-Tahrir (Arabic: حزب التحرير Ḥizb ut-Taḥrīr; Party of Liberation) is an international pan-Islamic political organization. It is commonly associated with the goal of all Muslim countries to unify as an Islamic state or caliphate ruled by Islamic law (sharia) and with a caliph as head of state elected by Muslims.
Especially large demonstrations took place on October 6 in Crimea – the historically Russian territory, which now belongs to Ukraine.
The native population of the Crimean peninsula used to be a Muslim ethnic group called Crimean Tatars. During World War II, on 18 May 1944, the entire Crimean Tatar population fell victim to Stalin’s policies. Although a great number of Crimean Tatar men served in the Red Army, the existence of the Tatar Legion in the Nazi army and the collaboration of Crimean Tatar religious and political leaders with Hitler during the German occupation of Crimea provided Stalin with a pretext for accusing the whole Crimean Tatar population of being Nazi collaborators.
All Crimean Tatars were deported to Uzbek Republic and other distant parts of the Soviet Union. By now more than 250,000 Crimean Tatars have returned to their homeland. They are struggling to re-establish their lives and reclaim their national and cultural rights.
Muslim extremists find in Crimea convenient grounds for their activity.
Here are some photos of a demonstration in the biggest Crimean city, Simferopol.
“Muslims are one nation”
“89 years without caliphate is a great tragedy of Umma”
The growing Muslim sentiment in the Russian Federation is not limited to extremist activity. Just in Tatarstan, the largest Muslim Republic in Russian Federation, fifteen thousand people are studying the basics of Islam in the mosques.
A lot of Russian Muslims are trying to find ways of modernization of Islam.
Here are examples of advertising of the costumes designed by the modern Muslim designers. The ads are taken from Russian language Muslim propaganda sites.