Sunday, August 28, 2016


New Mosque Project Highlights Moscow's Ethnic Tensions

Muslims pray at the central mosque in Moscow. A flood of immigrants, or proof of a lack of mosques for Moscow's Muslims?
Muslims pray at the central mosque in Moscow. A flood of immigrants, or proof of a lack of mosques for Moscow's Muslims?
By Kevin O'Flynn
MOSCOW -- When Muslims celebrated the end of Ramadan earlier this month in Moscow, Russian media published photos of multitudes of people praying on the street outside the city's Grand Mosque, which was packed with worshipers.

One local magazine noted that the image was a reminder to Muscovites that they were living in a "Muslim city." In reality, Muslims make up only about one-fifth of the Russian capital's 10.5 million inhabitants.

But what the photograph did illustrate was that there is a severe shortage of places of worship -- there are just four mosques in the entire city -- for Moscow's estimated 2 million Muslims. For this reason, the city's Muslim community is planning to build a new mosque in the city's southwestern Tekstilshchiki district, that would accommodate 3,000 worshipers.

Construction is scheduled to start in November. But the decision has sparked fierce opposition from local residents, who have petitioned the city to scrap the project.

Nafigulla Ashirov is dismayed by the controversy.
Nafigulla Ashirov, co-chairman of the Russian Muftis Council in Moscow, told RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir service that he was dismayed by the controversy.

"When there are almost 900 churches for Christians and just four mosques for 2 million Muslims, people, if they are smart and friendly -- whoever they are -- Christians or Moscow city authorities, they should admit that this is not enough," Ashirov said. "We are surprised that some people oppose that."

Local Protests

More than 1,000 people from the district have signed a petition against the mosque's construction, arguing that it would affect parking and inconvenience local dog owners, who could be restricted from walking their pets near the mosque.

Opponents also complain that the mosque is located in the district's only "green zone," an area that is supposed to be reserved for parks.

Aleksandr Kuzmichyov, a 55-year-old computer programmer, says he and all his friends and neighbors are opposed to the mosque. "First of all it's a green area, it's a residential area and dogs go for a walk there," he says. "They'll be nowhere to walk them, they'll be in the courtyard."

Others express more xenophobic sentiments, saying they fear an influx of Chechens and other people from the Caucasus

On September 11, hundreds of protesters gathered on Volzhsky Boulevard, where the mosque is scheduled to be built. Representatives of Moscow's Muslim community showed up at the demonstration, which was filmed and posted on the video-sharing site YouTube.
In the video, the interaction between the two groups swings between open hostility and more constructive dialogue:

Moscow residents collect signatures against construction of the new mosque in Tekstilshchiki district on September 11.
One woman in the video who says she is opposed to the mosque also decried those who were trying to stir up ethnic and religious tension over the issue.

"The people who have come here are not against Muslims, against their religion. They are against anything being built here," woman said.

"People have gathered here to say that it should be left as a square as a park, which there isn't in this district. There simply isn't. And these people are just provoking, getting a crowd here to change the subject to a controversial subject."

City's Proposal

The Russian Orthodox Church, meanwhile, has refrained from openly backing the mosque's opponents. A spokesman for the Moscow Patriarchate told the Interfax news agency on September 20 that the church did not oppose the mosque, but criticized the city authorities for not allowing an Orthodox church to be built on the same site.

Marat-Hazrat Murtazin, the deputy chairman of the Russian Council of Muftis, told RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service that in 2008 the council asked city authorities to provide land for a new mosque and religious school.

Moscow officials offered several locations and the council chose the site in Tekstilshchiki, an industrial district in southwest Moscow located outside the city's ring road.

Murtazin said the mosque was necessary to meet the needs of the district's Muslims, and that the "way to Allah can't be stopped. People need to go somewhere to pray. I don't think those 500 people who gathered the other day to sign the petition against the construction -- those who oppose it because they want to walk their dogs and drink their beers in the park -- can really be in the way of almost 200,000 Muslims who live in the Tekstilshchiki district."

Ethnic, Not Religious Tensions

Aleksandr Verkhovsky, the head of the Moscow-based SOVA Center, which monitors extremist activities, says the opposition to the mosque is largely driven by xenophobia and the ethnic tension that followed the migration of non-Slavs to Moscow in recent decades.

Marat-Hazrat Murtazin: "The way to Allah cannot be stopped."
"When people say what they don't like about mosques, they say they don't like that a lot of Azerbaijanis, Tajiks, Chechens, will move in," Verkhovsky says. "The problem is one of an ethnic character rather than religious."

Verkhovsky adds that the tension in Tekstilshchiki is being exploited by the far right.

Nevertheless, not everyone in Tekstilshchiki opposes the mosque. Sitting in a locksmith booth at a bustling market near the Tekstilshchiki subway station, Vera Kuich, a 30-year-old Orthodox Christian, is benign about it, saying that everyone has a right to a place to pray.

Likewise, Dmitry, an elderly man who describes himself as an ardent atheist, also says he supports the mosque being built. "Why should Christianity have the upper hand," he says. "Why? Why is Christ better than Muhammad? I welcome it."

Growing Rivalry?

Relations between Orthodox Christianity and Islam have become increasingly strained in recent years.

Some Orthodox Christians say immigration from predominantly poor Muslim regions such as the Caucasus and Central Asia is changing the ethnic and religious makeup of Russia. The country's Muslims, meanwhile, say they fear an increasingly close relationship between the Orthodox Church and the state.

Last year, Fatikh Garifullin, the chief mufti of the Asian part of Russia, called on the Orthodox Church to offer Muslims space to pray because of the shortage of mosques. He said such a gesture would help bond the two faiths, although some hard-line Orthodox groups interpreted the request as a threatening challenge rather than as a peace offering.

In Moscow, the Orthodox Church has ambitious plans to build 200 new chapels in the next three-four years as it tries to reach out to the faithful.

Most churches in Moscow are in the historical center and the chapels are intended for the outlying regions of the city built in Soviet times that never had churches, Andrei Kurayev, a professor at the Moscow Seminary told RFE/RL's Russian Service. Construction on the chapels will begin in November.

Muslim leaders, meanwhile, feel that they have been continually thwarted in their attempt to provide places of worship.

"There have been [unsuccessful] attempts to build a [new] mosque in Moscow for 20 years," says Ashirov of the Russian Muftis Council. "But there are never problems with other constructions, say, destroying one building to build a new one, building gas-distribution centers, or other places like restaurants or nightclubs is no problem in Moscow."

RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir and Russian services contributed to this report
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
by: Zoltan from: Hungary
September 26, 2010 12:37
The question of how to tackle Muslim immigrants is a problem not only for Moscow but for whole Europe.

The minaret ban of Switzerland is the other side of the same coin. Meanwhile in France the government bans the burka. In Germany there are also problems with new mosque building plans.

Europe - East and West - are simply not prepared for immigrants alien from the Euro-Christian civilization.

Aboriginal population of Europe do not know enough about Islam and Muslims therefore they fear from the unknown.

Meanwhile it is not only a clash of different religions or civilizations but a clash of different ways of life. Europeans are secularists and mainly atheists while Muslims are usually more conservative and religious.

Therefore the current clash is much more about secularism versus religious conservatism than a Christianity vs. Islam confrontation.

by: Zoltan from: Hungary
September 26, 2010 12:48
However as a liberal I'm absolutely support that Muslims of Moscow (or in every corner of Europe) definitely have the right to have their own church (or mosque).

Moscow is currently building a huge brand new Armenian church complex.

If the Armenians can have a church in Moscow than why Muslims do not have the same right?
In Response

by: Anonymous
September 27, 2010 00:07
I will go out on a limb and say that it is because Armenians are not blowing up subways or killing people in theatres, hospitals, airplanes, and schools.
In Response

by: Lee Gwangseop from: KOREA
September 27, 2010 09:31
Your opinion seems to make a sense.But It is not that simple issue.
I think we need to consider why people don't have favors to Islam.
Although muslims insist that it' is about extremists, not about the majority, I want to point out that the most dangerous trouble makers in the world are muslims.

In Response

by: Zoltan from: Hungary
September 28, 2010 22:01
OK, let's change the point.

What will be better if we deny Muslims to build their mosque?

Will it result less violence? Will it solve the problem of terrorism?


The mosque building ban would harm not the terrorists but ordinary Muslims.

If you want to fight against Islamic extremism you should target your strike better.

With the mosque ban you will not harm terrorists but offend peaeful Muslims.

I say yes to mosques while saying no to terrorism. But the two is not the same.
In Response

by: Pavel Dotsenko from: Texas, USA
September 27, 2010 19:40
I don't recall Armenian Orthodox killing civilians in Moscow in a terrorist attack, do you? I am sure that most Muslims are not terrorists, but most terrorists in majority-Christian countries are Muslims. I admit not knowing the details of this case, but perhaps seeking to build a large mosque on the heels of terrorist attacks in Moscow and around Russia is insensitive to the families of victims and risks inciting ethnic violence?
In Response

by: Zoltan from: Hungary
September 28, 2010 21:55
" ...but most terrorists in majority-Christian countries are Muslims. "


ETA of Spain, IRA of Northern-Ireland, Tupac-Amaru of Peru...

Terrorism is a symptome. It is a symptome of weakness and faiulure of present day Islamic societies.

Terrorism is used only by weak groups to demonstrate their position.

But let me ask one question. How many terrorist attacks happen each year? 20? 50? 100?

And how many Muslims live arounf the globe? 1 bln?

So how can we stigmatize Islam as a religion being agressive and terrorist about the deeds of only 100 follower?

If I as a Hungarian blow up a subway than you will call every Hungarian terrorist because my own act?

Yes you are right. There is something wrong in Muslim societies. Therea re far too many Muslim terrorists.

But please realize the true fact that not every Muslim is a terrorist and Islam is not the reason of those terrorist acts.

by: Amr from: Egypt
September 26, 2010 20:08
I believe that Zoltan's conclusion in which he said :"Therefore the current clash is much more about secularism versus religious conservatism than a Christianity vs. Islam confrontation" is very perceptive and absolutely true. I really don't believe that the tensions against muslims in some european cities are based in religious rivalry, but rather in the fundamental way the two groups believe how they should live their lives. However, with this new realization, I don't know if the differences between the two groups are still any easier to bridge.

by: Lev from: Rus
September 26, 2010 20:30
Sorry, Zoltan, you're comment that we "don't know enough about Islam" is obviously wrong. We know enough about to Islam to know to resist it. More Europeans are learning the same. Please wake up and learn more about Islam.
In Response

by: Zoltan from: Hungary
September 28, 2010 21:45
If you would really know Islam you would know that Islam was a far tolerant religion than Christianity throughout history.

The Ottoman Empire have acepted the Jews expelled from the Iberia peninsula by the Christian Spanish.

Armenians live in peace in present day Iran. In Syria also app. 100.000 Armenians live in peace with their Muslim neighbours.

Kopt Christians represent a significant minority in Egypt where they are also respected.

So one can not say that Islam as a religion is agressive or intolerant. Some Muslim politicians however is agressive and intolerant.

But agressivity is not the nature of Islam. Only some people use the name of Islam to justify their deeds.

But it has nothing to do with Islam as a religion.
In Response

by: Felipe Muñoz from: Chile
September 29, 2010 07:57
The Otoman Empire tolerant!?... Ah... the jewish case, thats appart, because they applied the concept ''the enemy of my enemy is my friend'', and because the jews never shown resistance to muslims; their ''frindship'' is only explained because the jews hated christians (since the break in the jewish world, that led to the birth of Christianity); and in those times, the christians were the fundamentalists. Respecting armenians, can be explained because they occupied the same place that the jews had in the moorish Spain: the economical and commercial affairs. They were tolerant (muslims), but they were totally merciless to exterminate them, when any minimal threat appeared from any minority. It has ocurred with armenians, greeks, assyrians, serbs, bulgarians, and... JEWS (when the jews started to return to Palestine, their historical and ancestral lands); so... lets except their tolerance, because it never were sincere, it was planified. And about Copts, they dont have peace has you think, they have a Tense Peace. If muslim egyptians have avoided to take violent actions against them, is because their religious leader have ordered to do so. And they are worried to keep peace not ffor being tolerant, it's because they dont want to cause a break-up in Egypt as a result of a Civil War (Copts represent the 10%) (see in BBC World News ''Egypt pope apologyses to muslims''/28-29 September. The muslim ''tolerance'' cannot being considered as trully or sincere.
In Response

by: Ann from: NYC
October 19, 2010 16:30
Felipe Munoz from Chile you are wrong because Islam Respects and accepts that Judaism and Christianity (as well as the Holy books of both religions) are the word of God and should be respected as prior revelation of Islam. First Read the Qu'ran and then get back to me ( you will see that Islam is only about peace and a true Muslim can only defend and never attack another human being).

by: Leo from: Chicago,USA
September 27, 2010 00:56
We (white,europians & n.americans) have bean fighting the muslims for more than 1300 years (Constantinopolis ,Balkans ect.). We are at war with them now (recall jihad ? allahu acbar..).The trouble with us is we are politically correct and to civilised to act like them so we allow ourselves to be defeted.

by: Sergey from: Chicago area, USA
September 27, 2010 02:57
Let me ask RFE/RL a question. How many churches or synagogues are in Saudi Arabia--the birthplace of Islam ? The answer is 0. You simply cannot build "infidel" houses of worship in Saudi Arabia. You can't even celebrate there Christmas in the privacy of your home let alone in public. Also look what happened to ancient Christian communities in Iraq, so called "Palestinian Territories" and throughout Muslim world. They are simply disappearing under constant pressure from Islamists and Islamic authorities that prohibit Christians to preach Christianity to Muslims under death threats, routinely prohibit repairs to delapidated churches or synagogues--let alone build new ones and subject Christians and other non-Muslims to numerous forms of discrimination, harassment and murder.

And here is my other question to RFE/RL and to Kevin O'Flynn. Why should Muslim activists expect tolerance to their faith in non-Muslim countries when they show little or no tolerance to the faith of others in any place where Muslims are in power ? I see no reason to show tolerance to Islam when Islam itself doesn't show much tolerance to non-Muslims. Especially, I don't see any reason to welcome Islam when numerous adherents of Islam are continue waging 1400 year old Islamic Jihad (or Holy War) for the world domination by means of terror, intimidation and other forms of violence, coercion or political trickery.

Simply speaking, until Islam ceases trying to impose itself on the rest of the world by any means, including terror, I support tough restrictions on Islam whether it is in Moscow, New York or anywhere else. That means restrictions or even outright ban on building new mosques or opening Islamic schools because there are plenty of examples when mosques or Islamic schools (Madrassas) and other Islamic institutions became breeding ground for Jihadist terror and other subversive activities.

If that makes me "Islamophobe" or "Xenophobe"--that' fine with me.
In Response

by: leciat from: usa
September 28, 2010 19:42
"If that makes me "Islamophobe" or "Xenophobe"--that' fine with me. "

you are in good company as you join the ever growing ranks of the entire western/democratic world in islamophoia…welcome to the club
In Response

by: Zoltan from: Hungary
September 28, 2010 21:30
Sergey, your argumentation is wrong. The fact that Saudi Arabia does not have a single hurch does not justify to deny Muslims living in europe to build one.

- in Saudi arabia not a single Christian lives while in Europe from France to Russia millions of Muslims live
- secondly Europe considers itself an open and tolerant place uncomparable with the authoritarian Saudi Arabia. If we would do the same as the Saudis then we would not be better then them.

I hope Europeans are better then Saudi Arabians...

Moreover you forget the fact that Armenians in the Islamic Republic of Iran (considered as a hardliner Muslim dictatorship in the West) are living in maximum peace and harmony with Muslim population.

Moreover Jews lived also in peace under the rule of Moorish Andalusia in the Cordoba Caliphate. However after the Christian reconquista by the spanish they were expelled by Christian fundamentalists. After the expelled Jews found new home in the Muslim world in North-Africa and especially in the Ottoman Empire.
In Response

by: Felipe Muñoz from: Chile
September 29, 2010 07:33
Yeah??... But YOU are wrong in something. You are blaming christians of being fundamentalists too, but you forgot that those events happened in 1492 approx. NEARLY 600 years in the past!!. But this have happened with muslims since the birth of Islam, and more in our days. You talk about the jews in Moorish Spain, but you dont think that the jews were respected by two reasons: 1. they were useful for the caliphas because the jews proved their ability in the commercial and economical affairs of the caliphate. and 2. because the moorishs (who really thought that they could have lived there for the eternity) never seen in the jews a potential threat; and besides, both considered christians as enemies (jews always considered christians as traitor jews)-they applied the ''the enemy of my enemy is my friend''-. Are you sure when you quote the moorish Spain as an example of religious tolerance??... I dont believe a word of it. And finally, Christianity have learned about their mistakes during the medieval era; however... can you say the same about Islam??. Im not being merely ''islamophobic'', im just judging about events and facts that have ocurred before, and still happening actually, it's not a merely coincidance.
In Response

by: Zoltan from: Hungary
September 30, 2010 21:56
Felipe, just to justify the tolerance of the Cordoba Caliphate:

Hasdai Ibn Saprut a Jew was vizier of caliph Abd ar-Rahman III. in the 10. century.
Show me any Christian country where a Jew reached such high position?

The undeniable fact is that Islam throughout history was much more tolerant than Christianity. Tolerancy is strongly correlates with strength and success of a society. If a society flourishing it usually tolerates more "difference".

Islam began to be intolerant after its defeat by Christian empires. Intolerancy is as symptome of weakness and failure.

Islamic civilization nowdays is totally looser. They lag far behind the Euro-Christian world and now even behind the Asian world. But their anger is directed against the West because they were conquered and colonised by western power.

So I have to repeat my former diagnosis: the reason for today's Muslim terrorism is not Islam as a religion but the current historical defeat of Islam.

If Islam would be the reason for intolerancy then how could you explain the tolerancy it showed previously?
In Response

by: Zoltan from: Hungary
September 30, 2010 22:04
" Im not being merely ''islamophobic'', im just judging about events and facts that have ocurred before, and still happening actually, it's not a merely coincidance. "

Felipe, may I have a question? Have you ever been to an Islamic country? I guess not. You know your knowledge from Christian South-America from your armchair...

Come to Europe and I happily take you to Bosnia to encounter with real Muslims. Then you can judge yourself at the scene if Muslims are violent or not.

Oh, talking about Bosnia may I remember badly that there the eternal peaceful Christian Serbs began to massacre the agressive and violent Muslims?
In your view probably Srebrenica was just a revenge of peaceful Christians for Muslim agression...

The lesson is: we can not say that either Islam or Christianity as a religion is totally and generally wrong, violent or intolerant.

But certainly there are specific Muslims and Christians who are violent. But it is not because of their religion. It is because of their personality and their political circumstances.
In Response

by: Zoltan from: Hungary
September 30, 2010 22:15
" You are blaming christians of being fundamentalists too, but you forgot that those events happened in 1492 approx. NEARLY 600 years in the past!!. "

Really Felipe?

Do you think the Holocaust when intolerant Christian Germans and their vassals throughout Europe terminated 6 million Jews was happened 600 years ago???

The Holocaust is totally the same story what happened in Spain after the reconquista. The only difference that Christian Spanish did not have the same technology to "achieve the same result" the Germans managed to have...

Catholic fundamentalist Spain and Nazi Germany are the same.

You now probably say that the Nazi Germany did not do what it did because of its religious orientation. OK, that's true. But however Christianity did not prevent them to do that.

by: craig from: Canada
September 27, 2010 14:09
Islam is utter nonsense. I doubt god`s prophet would come in the from of a father who impregnated his daughter. I also think it`s wrong to teach people that heaven holds 72 virgins for each man and more beauty for women to please the men. If you do your own research into this madness you will find how intolerant islam is of other religions. Christianity (nowadays) is at least only arrogant enough to believe all non christians will not see heaven but, if your not muslim then your an enemy of islam. Most muslims would deny this.
The proof is in how they name their mosques. Two things everyone needs to do to stop all this rivalry. 1 is christianity needs to stop putting jesus before god (even if they believe they are 1 in the same now) and 2 is quite simply save God from Alah. I think that says it all. This rediculous religion which promotes war and male dominance has reached a point where it`s numbers are dangerously high (because of the jesus issues with mary ) on a global level and could bring a new holy war, the front line of which would be at everyones front door. In a book Called The Art of War it reads "do not declare battle until the war is already won".
If you understand what it means then you should see that islam is using a tactic on the whole world. The solution? State religion. Unless we want another Kosovo, then another and another and another. each country should stick to the predomanent religion without outlawing other religions only funding and promoting one. This must be done as passively as possible so a time period would be involved to allow for adjustment to the idea and the eventual dismantling of all mosques, churches, synagogues etc in each country. The idea is to really allow all religions however with only one being allowed to be practised openly.
In Response

by: Ватанпәрвәр from: Tatarstan
September 28, 2010 14:11
You are mistaken. Islam never says that nonmuslims are enemy, Islam is a peacefull religion.

Clever people usually understand that Islam is the only religion foe now. Nonclever people writes bad commentaries...
In Response

by: Felipe Muñoz from: Chile
September 29, 2010 07:16
A peacefull religion... what a laugh!. Ah... it's truth, you are from Tatarstan, so away from the flaming arab world. Let me tell you one thing, it's truth that -in many things- tatar muslims have a different attitude inside Islam, but that can be explained because you live in a country that provides you with education since you were a child; and your fathers lived under a communist regime (that kept religion under strict vigilance). And besides, you are lucky of living in Russia, because your people has managed to keep your culture in balanced harmony with your faith. However, the reason because the world has taken distance from Islam comes from the following problem: Islam itself is a faith that not only wants to expand the faith, it's a faith that also considers legal to expand their culture, language, way of live, political structure, etc. That's because many people in he world is ''crashing'' with this ''peaceful faith''. Have you never asked yourself why the arab world has conflicts since the birth of Islam??... Because Real Islam is what we seen in Middle East, Chechnya, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and counting. If you are a peaceful person, it's not thanks to Islam, it's thanks to the system of life where you born. Believe me, if you were in the Middle East, maybe i could find you in the news armed wiht a AK-47 and a black flag; because that how they think since the beginning of Islam.
In Response

by: Ватанпәрвәр from: Tatarstan
September 30, 2010 17:06
Felipe Muñoz, I'm sorry, but how much you know about Islam? (Sorry for my English? it's dificult to write in English for me) If somebody doesn't understand our religion and "armed with a AK-47", it doesn't mean that the problem in religion. Try to read Quran and you will find all answers there.
In Response

by: leciat from: usa
September 28, 2010 19:38
state religion? over my dead body

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
September 28, 2010 01:54

Russia refused restore CIS in 1947, Stalin was detaned,
Put under house arrest - his protests against plagiarizm,
By Russia , during a "Contract with The People" I offered,
Made Russian Tiranny act expeditiary as Imperio-sceme.

In 1949 they started dismentalling partial CIS restoration
And influxed millions Russians - into non-Russian lands.
In 1954 they made secret pact with "Bechtel" Corporation
And some British Royal confedants, to destroy future CIS.

USSR had already H-bomb ballistic coming from the line,
Acheiving not only defensive but offensive parity with USA,
But instead of moving to CIS, Russia offered old Empires
Take over the World, using Bechtel's treason to bomb CIS.

Old Zcarist evil was copied and expanded to all Euro-Asia,
People in Caucsus that revise their history knew the routs,
So nations in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Russians
Were spreading hate and build army of "oboroten" shrouds.

Non-Russians were more learned and far more intelligent
Than Russians - so Russians replaced books by own lies.
They organized a trained by British Spetcnaz, army of death,
GRU, KGB, telepaths and the party meetings by local spies.

To substanciate "Devide and Conquer" they needed a wave
Of some manipulated people - they found Muslims "usefull"
To manipulate a Global scale through Mecca by bomb-rage
Of Shvartckopf. - "O WW2 Muslim heros - be Russia's fools!"

So, brotherhood of Euro-Asia is TABU, no CIS, as Caucasus,
No Ibero-Caucasian brotherhood anymore - no regional CIS.
So is Central Asia and Eastern Europe - no regional CIS too.
Only evil invading Russian armies of "oborotens" are there!




by: Felipe Munoz from: Santiago, Chile
September 29, 2010 05:47
In brief: 1 in favor of Islam (an their Moscow Mosque), 2 abstention (The theory of Equal Religions), and 7 against Islam. The numbers of this simple forum are clear: There's a non-declared rivalry between Western Civilization (Christians, Atheists, etc) and Islam. Personally, when i was teenager, i even felt some admiration for Islam; However, actually i'm a declared enemy of muslims. Why??... Because i learned the truth about many issues from Islam; and i, as a Christian (If you dont know, i was an atheist when i was a teenager), condemn many things of the whole thinking of Islam (i wont number them because it could take too long). One interesting thing, in Europe, the main defenders of muslims were western-europe countries (mainly atheists, or defenders of inmorality; boosted by ignorant socialists); countries that, in past years, had only small communities of muslims. However, the main anti-Islam reaction comes from christian countries that historically have shared (or disputed) lands with Islam. As an example, the main oppositors to Islam in this forum are ethnic-slavs (Russia, Ukraine, or descendants abroad), who have battled during centuries against muslim expantion (Ottoman Empire, muslim kingdoms of Central Asia, Balkans). That shows something simple: If you want to know someone, share the same neighbourhood with him. Talking like Craig sound simple and possible, but the reality is quite different, and it WILL NEVER CHANGE... Believe me.
In Response

by: Ann from: NYC
October 19, 2010 16:59
Felipe Munoz ,Santiago, Chile. You are wrong I was born in Ukraine with a mix of Polish, Russian, Swedish, Ukrainian, Jewish (born into Christian Family) blood. After reading all of the Holy Books Torah, Bible and Qu'ran, the only book that made sense from start to finish is the Qu'ran. So before writing any falsities you should read Holy book which you are trying to defame.

by: Mustafa from: İstanbul
September 29, 2010 07:44
Before all, let me mention that I leave in an Islamic country, Istanbul-Turkey and I was born in a muslim family with islamic traditions. Despite most other widely believed religions, Islam differs; it is a strong candidate for ruling every aspects of the life. It has its own law, which all muslims should obey (eg. a man can marry upto 4 women legally, woman witness is not equal with man etc. etc.)
There started to be an increasing tension among muslims against other religions and they have ever more effort to evolve their religion through unacceptable ways. They do busines with same, ask them to force their children have similar values, cover their hair so their honour will not be spoiled etc. In my oppinion islam needs a revolution inside but that seems quite impossible. That is why secularism is very important. In Turkey there is an islamic government and putting every opponent voice into jail everyday. So, I would recommend all readers of this to reconsider this issue. Most muslims who are not secular use democracy to bring teocracy only. Turkey is an example and I am sure modern world will suffer with the increasing Islamic power coming from Turkey.
In Response

by: Felipe Muñoz from: Chile
September 29, 2010 17:04
What you say is correct in certain things. However, there're some details: 1. You're case is similar as the case of the person of Tatarstan -that i explained before-. 2. You are a turk, not an arab. Historically, turks and arabs had tense relations; and in the religious arena, the arabs have always considered turks as some kind of ''incomplete muslims''. Why??... Because Islam itself doesnt want a merely religious convertion, but also a cultural, and even language convertion. (i mean as an ''arabic way''). Dont forget that -as a detail- Arabs have always considered themselves as some kind of ''choosen race'' of Allah (as a way to compete with the jews, also considered as ''choosen''); that's explin why the want everything converted to their ''rightful'' way of Islam (totally arabisating). And turks as managed to be muslims, but keeping their identity, language, and culture; that's why you are different from arab muslims. Hah... and dont forget that you live in Istanbul (European Turkey), were things are more tolerant than the rest of Eastern Turkey. I always say: ''Turkey is a country with two faces: the face that exposes to Europe, named Istanbul; and the real face (historically contained by the secularists), the intolerant and muslim-supremacist thinking of Ankara and the rest of Asian Turkey. Or... Why almost all minorities representations, as well as the main defender of secularism are located in Istanbul??... Is it not enough strange??. At least, you're a person that's fully aware of that ''Turkey's Dilemma''; but the question now is... How long secularism will resist this new ''Islamic Rennaisance'' in Turkey??... And, Who will lead: moderates or fundamentalists??.
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