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Islamic Center Inaugurated in Karelia Republic

Islamic Center Inaugurated in Karelia Republic



By Dhamir Ahmed, IOL Correspondent

PETROZAVODSK, May 6 ( - Sheikh Wessam Ali El-Bardawil, Mufti of Karelia, a republic of the Russian Federation, has recently inaugurated the first Islamic Center in the northeast town of Kostomuksha.


he center includes a mosque and an Islamic library, said a statement by the republic’s Islamic religious authority.

Sheikh El-Bardawil along with a number of the authority local officials and members of the Muslim community attended the inauguration ceremony on Tuesday, May 4.

Kostomuksha has a population of 54.000 and is located near the borders with Finland.

On March 12 of this year, Sheikh El-Bardawil, who hails from a Syrian origin, inaugurated the first mosque in the history of Unitsa, the ancient capital of the republic.

Since 1980s, Unitsa has seen the number of Muslims increasing, with the figure now standing at 1000 out of its 50.000-strong population.

The Islamic religious authority statement pointed out that three Russian females, in their 20s, have recently embraced Islam in the capital Petrozavodsk.

Sheikh El-Bardawil recently urged followers of other religions in Karelia to be more religiously tolerant, citing a number of attacks on Muslims in the capital.

In General, the conditions of the Muslim community in the republic is remarkably improving and a Muslim was appointed on March 12, 2004, as the interior minister.

Muslims are estimated at 20,000 of Karelia’s 716,000 population, 94% of whom are Christians.

Sheikh El-Bardawil inaugurated the mosque on Tuesday



The republic of Karelia is located in the north-western part of Russian Federation, taking intervening position between the basins of Barents and Baltic seas. 


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