Arab News Digest

News from the Arab World

Islam in Russia: Unique Blend of History, Modernity


MOSCOW: The history of Islam in Russia dates back centuries, with the first contact between Islam and Russia occurring in the Middle Ages. Islam was introduced to Russia by Muslim traders and ambassadors, and in the year 18 AH, Islam entered the land of the Eastern Caucasus (Azerbaijan). By the year 38 AH, Islam had permeated the Caucasus, finding fertile ground for rapid expansion. Over time, Islamic countries in Russia developed and experienced growth in numbers, organisation, and religious practices. Russia also became an observer member of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.

Today, Islam is the second-largest religion in Russia, with approximately 26 million followers, or 15% of the total population. Estimates suggest that Muslims will make up one-third of Russia’s population by 2050.

The majority of Muslims in Russia live in the North Caucasus republics, the republics of Tatarstan and Bashkortostan, and the capital city of Moscow. The Muslim community enjoys freedom to practice their religious rit
uals and participate in community activities organised during the holy month.

Muslims in Russia practice their rituals freely, and there are designated places for breaking the fast in public areas. Joint events are organised between Muslims and non-Muslims to promote mutual understanding and peaceful coexistence between different cultures.

Russia is home to many historical and modern mosques that reflect the cultural and religious diversity of Muslims in the country. Moscow, which was once a small town in the 12th century, has become one of the most important European cities with a historical depth of over 850 years. It is also one of the most crowded cities in the world, with a Muslim population of up to 2.5 million people out of a total of 10.5 million inhabitants. Islam has become an integral part of Russia, with one Muslim out of every four people seen on the street. There are six large mosques in Moscow, as well as 20 smaller mosques scattered throughout the city.

The month of Ramadan in Russia is cha
racterised by many unique customs and traditions. Russian cities are embellished with beautiful Ramadan decorations and special events are organised.

The Russian Muftiate also organises activities specifically for Ramadan, including preparing a list of needy people such as the elderly, orphans, and widows to whom they provide financial and food assistance.

The “Ramadan Tent in Moscow” is one of the most important aspects of the holy month. It has been held annually since 2006 on the grounds of the Poklonnaya Gora Memorial Mosque in central Moscow and welcomes over 45,000 visitors during the blessed month of Ramadan. The tent opens its doors to provide free Iftar meals, in addition to many cultural events dedicated to interfaith dialogue and an opportunity for communication and acquaintance in an atmosphere of tolerance and forgiveness.

Source: Emirates News Agency

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