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In 1995 the newly established Union of Muslims of Russia, led by Imam Khatyb Mukaddas of Tatarstan, began organizing a movement aimed at improving inter-ethnic understanding and ending Russians' lingering misconception of Islam.

The Union of Muslims of Russia is the direct successor to the pre-World War I Union of Muslims, which had its own faction in the Russian Duma.

There was much evidence of official conciliation toward Islam in Russia in the 1990s.

The number of Muslims allowed to make pilgrimages to Mecca increased sharply after the embargo of the Soviet era ended in 1991.

Muslims in Russia numbered 9,400,000 or 6.5% of the total population.

However, the populations of two federal subjects with Islamic majorities were not surveyed due to social unrest, which together had a population of nearly 2 million, namely Chechnya and Ingushetia, thus the total number of Muslims may be larger.

From the early 16th-century up to including the course of the 19th century, all of Transcaucasia and southern Dagestan was ruled by various successive Iranian empires (the Safavids, Afsharids, and the Qajars), and their geo-political and ideological neighbouring arch-rivals on the other hand, the Ottoman Turks.

In the respective areas they ruled, in both the North Caucasus and South Caucasus, Shia Islam and Sunni Islam spread, resulting in a fast and steady conversion of many more ethnic Caucasian peoples in adjacent territories.

This contrasted with other places in Europe outside Russia where Muslims were not allowed to own Christians.

The Russian army rounded up people, driving Muslims from their villages to ports on the Black Sea, where they awaited ships provided by the neighboring Ottoman Empire.

The explicit Russian goal involved expelling the groups in question from their lands.

The post-Communist union formed a political party, the Nur All-Russia Muslim Public Movement, which acts in close coordination with Muslim imams to defend the political, economic, and cultural rights of Muslims.

The Islamic Cultural Center of Russia, which includes a madrassa (religious school), opened in Moscow in 1991.

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