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Russia: Dawn of Islam in Siberia

Russia: Dawn of Islam in Siberia



IINA – 02

Moscow, Dhul Hijja 12/Feb 24,2002 (IINA) – Those who say that Islam reached such places as Siberia by the force of the sword are not telling the truth, because the region itself is a harsh one, and at the time was devoid even of animals, except fish, and its human inhabitants were few and far between. And when the Communist rule was established in the country, the successive regimes made Siberia a place of exile for those who did not agree with the government of the day.

What the early Muslims did was to persuade the inhabitants to embrace Islam, and in this connection they built mosques, and the fact that mosques can be found in the remotest parts of the region, is clear indication that Muslims were involved in the area not only in the religious sense, but also culturally and socially.

The region’s Muslims, despite their poverty and the harsh conditions under which they are living, continue to maintain their Islamic character and identity, and pray toward the Qibla (Ka’aba) five times a day, come rain come shine. There are times when the wintry conditions are so harsh, and the temperature goes as low as 61 degrees below zero.

During the Communist era, many of the mosques in the towns and villages of Siberia were either destroyed by the regime or converted into such things as dance halls or offices. But with the end of the Communist era, many have been restored to the Muslims, who in turn, began the task of repairing and restoring them, to the extent that many of them are now filled to capacity with worshippers.

However, when the Assistant Secretary-General of the Makkah-based Muslim World League (MWL), Sheikh Muhammad Nasser Al-Abboudy, visited the region not long ago, he noted that there were not enough Islamic schools or Islamic cultural centers, and there are neither Islamic newspapers nor magazines for the Muslims to read and know more about their faith and their brethren in other parts of the world. He added that the fact that despite the lack of all these essential component, the Muslims in the region still stick tenaciously to their faith, adding that this was clear indication of how deeply ingrained Islam is in their minds.