Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Islam in Russia

Russians are monitoring Muslims closely...

There is talk of a "list" and people on that list "have committed no crime" and are "being persecuted" because they are Muslim (persecuted means being on the list and being stopped by police...which, in my vocab, would be more of a nuisance than persecution...)

"Ovod Golayev is on that list. He lives in Karachayevsk, a city nestled in the foothills of the Caucasus, where he works for a tourism company that organizes skiing and hiking excursions. He wears his hair and beard long. He prays five times a day. He fasts during Ramadan, which is unusual here.

In recent weeks, he said, the police have detained him four times, twice in one day.

Mr. Golayev, 36, said the Islam he observes is opposed to violence, but he warned that the mistreatment of believers was driving men like him to desperation.

"They will pressure me enough," he said, "and then I will blow somebody's head off." (source)

So, his religion teaches no violence, but if he gets stopped by police he will "blow someone's head off". I guess this a fine example of how deeply the "peace" conviction goes...

The article goes on to indict the Russian government for the "control" and "oversight" they have on the Muslim community and religious leaders using the fact that "the Muslims of Russia are not immigrants and outsiders; they are typically the indigenous people of their regions" as an argument against the growing trepidation by the government. Steven Lee Myers, the author of the NYT article, may want to think back to the London bombings and the fact that those bombers were also "indigenous" to the country.

"The number of Muslims is estimated at 14 million to 23 million, 10 percent to 16 percent of Russia's population. They are spread across the country but congregate in several Muslim-majority republics." (source)

I don't know the solution. I am 100% aware of the fact that there are Muslims that don't want to kill all the infidels, but how do you balance that with SMART vigilance? If what happened in Beslan happened here...I would wager that our tolerance would be a lot lower than it is now...especially for groups that cut themselves off from society in general.

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