OP-ED

Religious Tolerance and the Muslim Community in Russia, a Peaceful Coexistence

Russia has always been a multi-ethnic country right from its inception. Moscow is one of the largest Muslim populated cities in Europe besides Istanbul. Almost 4 million Muslims thrive in the capital of the Russian Federation, home of many different cultures and religions.

Muslim Regions in Russia

There are certain traditional regions in Russia that primarily comprise of Muslims such as Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, Republic of the North Caucasus which consists of areas such as Ingushetia, Chechnya, Dagestan, Kabardino-Balkaria, Karachay-Cherkessia. Due to immigration from Central Asia and Azerbaijan, the Muslim population is also steadily increasing.

The Tatarstan people of faith, want to rightly showcase, what it is like, being Muslims in Russia. With the support of Russian authorities, they want to restore the way of living of their forefathers, who embodied the true spirit of Islam. The authorities, with primary Muslim spiritual figures support, have established Bulgar Islamic Academy thus revitalizing the historic religion center. The President has time and again displayed his support for promoting Islamic education in the country.

The Cathedral Mosque

It is an undeniable fact that Islamic traditions are a vital part of the Russian soul. Islam is one of the founding religions of Russia. The regions of Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, Chechnya are homes to some magnificent historical mosques. One of the Moscow’s historical mosques was renewed, making it the biggest in Europe as it underwent reconstruction recently. Truly encapsulating the multi-confessional Russian spirit, the mosque was donned in the modern look. Governments of Kazakhstan and Turkey also contributed in the reconstruction of the mosque.

The Cathedral mosque is going to be one of the primary sacred religious centers for the Muslims. The President emphasized that true noble morals and humanistic ideals of Islam can pave a way to the future of peaceful coexistence between people of different religions. Uniting people for a common cause of eradicating extremism is the main objective of the Russian authorities.

The Muslim Community and President’s Support

In 2003, Russia became a permanent observer in the organization of Islamic Conference. Where an International Muslim forum is held each year that calls upon Muslims leaders from Europe and other regions of the world.

Over the last 20 years, the number of mosques and madrasas have increased in Russia. Thousands of pilgrims from Russia make the Hajj each year. Imparting the authentic Islamic values to the youth is pivotal. In these trying times for Muslims all around the world, having a firm knowledge of Islam is the positive way to depict the peaceful nature of the religion.

Muslims are the second largest religious minority in Russia. Currently, there are almost 20 million Muslims citizens in the country. In order to thwart xenophobia about Islam, religious education in Russia has been promised to be fully supported by Vladimir Putin. He has especially asserted the importance of Russian Muslim clergy. At a meeting in Kazan’s Islamic academy, he expressed how they play an important role in encountering religious extremism.

Key to a Peaceful Future

The Russian President has a clear stance about how spiritual leaders and the Muslims community as a whole is key to achieving interfaith harmony, Islam peaceful ideals and rejection of fundamentalist views are crucial is achieving unity in the multi-ethnic and faith country.

In Dominic Rubin’s fascinating book Russia’s Muslim Heartlands: Islam in the Putin Era, he informs us of time when Muslims swore allegiance to the Russian Crown. The million Muslim citizens are dedicated to their country all the while being true to their faith.

The life of Muslims in Russia is viewed from the perspective of Chechnya. Which is not the true perspective in reality. The traditional Muslims of Russia have practiced tolerance throughout the years and they will continue on building harmonious relations with other communities in the country. And even there, we can see a now thriving region with almost zero violence.

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