Russians Increasingly Embracing Islam

By Damir Ahmad, IOL Correspondent

MOSCOW, October 4 ( – More Russians
are seen embracing Islam day in and day out, a
tendency attributed by some sources to spiraling
anti-Muslim discrimination and hatred. 

"Around 20,000 people have welcomed Islam in the
period from January to October this year in the
capital Moscow alone," a source with the Council of
Muftis of Russia told on Monday,
October 4. 

He recalled that the number went up from 15,300 in the
same period of 2003 and 12,450 in 2002. 

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said
60 per cent of the new converts are Russian
nationalists who never embraced any religion. 

He further noted that 75 per cent of them are young
girls whose ages range between 17 and 21, who are
seeking spiritual guidance. 

"Russians read every day in the press of anti-Muslim
bigotry and some see Islam as a minority religion
facing mounting pressures," he said. 

"The is also an undeclared campaign against Russian
Muslims in the Russian media with every veiled woman
being called a suicide-bomber." 

The source said this campaign against Islam and
Muslims "encourages more people to seek more
information about this faith and when they do they
eventually embrace it." 

Muslims in Russia have become under increasingly
racist and violent attacks in the wake of the Beslan
school hostage-taking tragedy, Muslim officials in
Moscow said Saturday, September 18. 

Up to 40,000 Russian Muslims took to the streets to
protest at the hostage-taking school tragedy in the
southern city of Beslan. 


The source said that when any truth-hungry person
visits any of the four main mosques in Moscow he is
given free booklets illuminating the tenets of Islam. 

Russia’s major Islamic associations have laid the
groundwork for a pan-Muslim body that will help spread
Islam nationwide and clear any stereotypes about

In April, Muslims set up the first ever rights  group
that will defend their economic, political and
religious rights and clear stereotypes tarnishing
their image. 

Russia has a Muslim population of 23 million,
representing roughly 15 percent of its 145 million
population, according to a 2003 census. 

Two million Muslims are residing in the capital


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