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RUSSIA and the Muslims

Planning national policy involves studying trends, and in this regard an article on Russia in the Economist (10!5/03) is perturbing. It deals with the Jews and the Muslims. The 2002 census will reveal that Russia has a higher percentage of Muslims than any West European country. The Muslim population is growing. A thousand new mosques and dozens of religious schools have opened, often with government assistance. Mainstream Muslims blame the Wahabites, a sect founded in Arabia in the 18th century, for Islamic violence. Muslims predate Orthodox Christians. Russians were converted to the Orthodox faith about 989 A.D. The spread of Islam into what is now Russia is more complicated. Chechnya has a sufi tradition, opposed therefore to Wahabism. Some WAISers who specialize in these areas may wish to provide more documentation on this important subject.

Ronald Hilton - 5/16/03