Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Muslims in Russia

I commented in the past about inroads being made by Muslins in European cities. These inroads are often not like what we see in the U.S. where immigrants are busy integrated. Europeans aren’t as open to immigrants as Americans are; so partly for that reason and partly because of Islamist influence there are many enclaves where Muslims keep to themselves, but they don’t just keep to themselves. When occasion calls for it, as it did when the Danes published some cartoons many Muslims felt were offensive to Mohammad, these enclaves erupted with broken windows and burning cars. But what of Russia? What’s going on there? An interesting article by Paul Goble gives us some insight on that subject: http://windowoneurasia.blogspot.com/2009/03/window-on-eurasia-nizhnys-muslims-want.html

Goble writes, “The Muslim Spiritual Directorate of Nizhny Novgorod wants the authorities there to allow them to erect Islamic symbols to mark neighborhoods where Muslims form a majority, a request that mirrors efforts by the Russian Orthodox Church but one that is certain to spark new concerns about the increasing number of Muslims in Russian cities.”

This is especially interesting because the CIA factbook indicates that there are about as many registered Muslims in Russia as registered members of the Russian Orthodox Church. I think the Catholics and Protestants have the Muslims outnumbered in European cities, but that may not be true in Russia. The CIA estimates are vague, up to 15% for both the Russian Orthodox and Muslims with a great deal of uncertainty.

Here is indication that Muslims in Russia are not being integrated any better than they are in Europe but are forming enclaves in the same way: “On Friday, the presidium of the Nizhny Novgorod MSD announced that it was preparing an appeal to the deputies of the local legislature and the administration of the Red October District of the city to erect symbols of Islam around a region where Muslims now form 90 percent of the population . . .”

“Sources in the MSD told Islamnn.ru that Islamic leaders want to employ the Muslim injunction on these signs declaring in Arabic script that “There is no God but Allah.” They want such signs to be comparable in size to Orthodox crosses, which are sometimes nine meters tall and thus to declare to all visitors that they are entering a Muslim area.”

I got the impression from reading Michael Kuznetsov’s blog that Russia was something like 80 to 85% pure Russian, but that may be changing: “. . . the number of Muslims in Russia’s cities is increasing rapidly, both as a result of higher birthrates among historically Islamic peoples than among historically Orthodox ones like the ethnic Russians and the influx of Gastarbeiters from predominantly Muslim areas of Central Asia and the Caucasus, changing the ethnic face of Russia’s cities and sparking xenophobia.”


I admit to being prejudiced in favor of the way Americans treat their immigrants. We have benefitted tremendously over the years from the xenophobia of other nations. Hitler killed a lot of Germany’s Jews, but many fled to the U.S. Many of them distinguished themselves here as did Russians who fled Russia because their thoughts were not as pure as Lenin, Stalin, and the GPU demanded.

How are we doing with our Muslims in America? Fine. They integrate as well as other immigrants. Much has been made recently over the fact that Muslim terrorists have taken advantage of our free and easy way of treating immigrants. So we are taking a harder look at Arab Muslims than we once did. That’s unfortunate, but it doesn’t indicate a change in our basic philosophy.

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