Sochi Puts Russian Muslims in Spotlight

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Sochi Puts Russian Muslims in Spotlight


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OnIslam & Newspapers

Sunday, 09 February 2014 00:00

The survey, revealed in 2013, showed that about half (53%) of adult Russian Muslims think that extremist groups pose a major threat to their country.

CAIRO – Usually praised for connecting people from all faiths and ethnicities, the Winter Olympics Games, held in Sochi, has put Russian Muslims in spotlight, linking the minority to terrorism and suicide bombings, Huffington Post reported on Saturday, February 8.

“I am surprised sometimes by the words of our politicians, who continue to use terms of nationality and religion when referring to terrorists,” Mufti Farid Salman of the Ulema Council of the Russian Association of Islamic Accord told Russia Beyond the Headlines.

“We shoul
d not do that. These people have moved away from God and the law,” he added.

The Muslim leader condemned terrorism and its negative implications for peaceful Russian Muslims.

Salman’s opinion was not rare among Russian Muslims.

According to a recent Pew survey, a full 86% of Russian Muslims condemn terrorism, saying that “acts of violence that target innocent civilians are never justified as a means of defending Islam against its enemies.”

The survey, revealed in 2013, showed that about half (53%) of adult Russian Muslims think that extremist groups pose a major threat to their country.

The Winter Games, opened in Sochi resort city on Friday, February 7, is held close to the restive North Caucasus region, where bitter insurgencies in Chechnya and the republics of Dagestan and Ingushetia have led rebellion against Russia.

The city, home to 20,000 Muslim residents, has no single mosque as Muslim leaders have been pushing for a new place to worship since 1996.

According to Reuters, the Winter Games in Sochi will coincide with the 150th anniversary of the expulsion of Muslim Circassians from the Black Sea coast that resulted in the estimated deaths of 1.5 million people.

Security fears have maximized following twin attacks which targeted Volgograd city, serving as a gateway to the southern wedge of Russian territory bounded by the Black and Caspian Seas and the Caucasus mountains, last December.

Militant group Vilayat Dagestan, one of the groups that make up the so-called Caucasus Emirate, claimed responsibility for the attacks in the video released in January.

The Caucasus
Emirate seeks to establish an independent state in the North Caucasus, a region just to the east of Sochi on Russia’s southern border.

Volgograd attacks were widely condemned by the Council of Muftis of Russia and the charity foundation Zakyat, who organized events to donate blood and money to the victims.

Islam is Russia’s second-largest religion representing roughly 15 percent of its 145 million predominantly Orthodox population.

The Russian Federation is home to some 23 million Muslims in the north of the Caucasus and southern republics of Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan.

Related Links:

Russia Investigates Qur’an Burning Video
Russian Muslims Help Volgograd Victims
Religious Authorities War Flares in Dagestan
Muslim Scholar Killed in Dagestan
Dagestan Allows Hijab in Schools

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