Municipal deputy urges Moscow ban on hijab

Municipal deputy of the Yakimanka District Dmitry Zakharov is going to address Moscow mayor Sergey Sobyanin with a request to ban wearing hijab in city. The author of the initiative answers the questions.

“I believe it is not right for any religious formation to demand special attitude. In fact, hijab is outer manifestation of such demand. It’s no good, I think we need to ban wearing it in public places: in the streets, in state and educational establishments,” Zakharov said in his interview published by the Metro daily.

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Russia’s march toward ruin

Nationalist demonstrator Moscow November 2013The Russian March, a yearly demonstration of Russian nationalist groups, was held Monday in Moscow and in 100 other cities across the country. Never before has this march been held amid so much xenophobia and intolerance in Russian society. Never before have members of the ruling elite, including members of the State Duma and the Kremlin, so publicly and openly made anti-­migrant and xenophobic statements. Not surprisingly, 40 percent of Russians now say they support holding the Russian March, according to a recent poll by the Levada Center.

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Thousands join nationalist rally in Moscow

Moscow anti-mosque banner
Protestors carrying a banner with the slogan ‘Today a Mosque – tomorrow Jihad’

Several thousand Russian nationalists rallied Monday in Moscow, venting against the migrants they accuse of pushing up the crime rate and taking their jobs.

The protest took place on Unity Day, a national holiday established in 2005 to replace commemorations of the Bolshevik Revolution. Many demonstrators carried Russian imperial flags. One group displayed a banner reading “Young People Against Tolerance.”

Animosity is strong among nationalists against migrants from the former Soviet Central Asian republics and against non-Slavs from the largely Muslim Russian Caucasus region. Central Asian migrants are widely employed in big cities in construction and do other low-paid jobs that Russians are not eager to do.

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Second anti-Muslim arson attack in Volgograd

The police are working to establish the identity of a man who attempted to set fire to a mosque in Russia’s southern city of Volgograd, the Interior Ministry’s regional branch said in a press release.

“At around 2:00 a.m. on Thursday, an unknown man threw a bottle filled with an as yet unidentified substance at a window on the ground floor of a mosque located in Volgograd’s Voroshilovsky District. But the window was not broken. No fire broke out,” it said.

An inquiry is underway. A criminal investigation may soon be opened on the counts of intentional destruction or damage of property through arson (Article 167 of the Russian Penal Code) and hooliganism (Article 213).

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Is Russia turning Muslim?

Daniel Pipes says it is. A few days ago he contributed a typical scaremongering piece to the Washington Times, using the recent right-wing nationalist riots in Moscow as a peg on which to hang the claim that Russia faces a real prospect of “Muslims becoming a majority in the 21st century – a demographic revolution that would fundamentally change the country’s character”.

Moscow’s nationalist rioters, Pipes seemed to be suggesting, were not wrong in fearing a Muslim threat to “their” country, even if their violent response was regrettable.

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Arson attack on Muslim prayer house in Volgograd

Russian police said attackers set fire to a Muslim prayer house in a southern Russian city earlier rocked by a suicide bombing. Volgograd police said Tuesday someone threw Molotov cocktails at the building late Monday night, but the custodian managed to put it out. A female suicide bomber blew herself up on a city bus on Monday, killing six people and injuring about 30.

Associated Press, 22 October 2013

Moscow’s large Muslim community faces violence, suppression

Moscow is now home to 2 million Muslims – more than any other city in Europe. So when the faithful gathered Tuesday for the start of the Eid al-Adha holiday, tens of thousands of men unrolled their prayer mats on the asphalt of Moscow’s streets. Last year, they prayed outside in rain and snow.

Looming overhead were the new minarets of the Moscow Cathedral Mosque, a century-old mosque that is now being expanded. It is one of only four mosques in all of Moscow.

“Certainly mosques are needed. Mosques are needed in each micro-district,” said Abdul Bari Sultanov, a Russian Muslim from Tatarstan, a historically Muslim region, after prayers Tuesday. “As well as madrassas, schools, imams so that people would be morally prepared for meeting their God.”

The Russian Orthodox Church is building 200 new churches around Moscow. In contrast, new mosque projects never win building permits. Russian Muslim activist Geydar Dzhemal claims that the Kremlin blocks new mosques in Russia’s capital.

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Moscow: Nationalist mob in anti-migrant riot

Massive rioting in Moscow after migrant accused of killing local

Moscow is reeling from its worst bout of ethnic unrest in three years after the alleged murder of a young Muscovite by a foreign immigrant last week.

Nationalist mobs rampaged through the streets of a southern suburb on Sunday after the murder of 25-year-old Yegor Sherbakov, chanting “Muslims are the shame of Russia.” The gang turned over cars, blocked streets and fought running battles with riot police late into the night.

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Russian Muslim leaders protest over ban on translation of Qur’an

Russia’s senior Islamic clerics warned the country’s leaders on Friday unrest could erupt in Muslim communities in Russia and beyond if a court decision ordering the destruction of a interpretive translation of Koran is not overturned.

Tuesday’s ruling by a court in Novorossiysk, a city in southern Russia, ordered the widely read text outlawed under a Russian anti-extremism law that rights activists say has been abused by local officials out of prejudice or to persecute groups frowned upon by the dominant Russian Orthodox Church. Rights campaigners said that the decision, which will apply nationwide unless it is overturned on appeal, comes dangerously close to banning the Koran itself.

Russia’s Council of Muftis sounded the alarm in an open letter on Friday to President Vladimir Putin, who has frequently called for unity among the leading faiths and warned that ethnic tension could tear Russia apart.

“Russian Muslims are very strongly indignant over such an outrageous decision,” Rushan Abbyasov, the deputy head of the council, which has close ties with the Kremlin, told Reuters. If the ruling is acted on, the cleric warned: “There will be unrest … not only in Russia but all over the world, we are talking about the destruction of the Koran.”

In the letter to Putin, the council drew a parallel with violence in the Middle East and Afghanistan over the actions of an American pastor, Terry Jones, who threatened to burn the Koran on September 11, 2010. “Is it necessary to discuss how the destruction of books, especially sacred religious books, has been received in Russia in the past?” it said.

“We recall how the burning of just a few copies of the Holy Koran by a crazy American pastor elicited a firm protest not just from Russian Muslims but from our entire society, in solidarity with the stormy and longlasting anger of the global Muslim community and all people of goodwill,” it said.

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