With Sochi in the news for having hosted the Winter Olympics, and Ukraine’s Crimea region featuring currently, we take some time to highlight a few points concerning Russian imperialism in Muslim lands. |
The period from the conquest of Kazan in 1552 to the ascension of Catherine in 1762 was marked by systematic repression of Muslims. It resulted in almost annihilating the Circassians, Crimean Tatars, and various Muslims of the Caucasus. The Russian army rounded up people, driving Muslims from their villages to ports on the Black Sea, where they awaited ships provided by the Ottoman Empire.
Circassia was a small Muslim nation on the shore of the Black Sea. For no reason other than ethnic hatred, over the course of hundreds of raids the Russians drove the Circassians from their homeland and deported them. More than 600,000 Muslims lost their lives to massacre and starvation, while hundreds of thousands more were forced to leave their. By 1864, 75% of the population was annihilated. Some say as many as 4 million Muslims lost their lives.
Under Communist rule, Islam, like other religions in the Soviet Union, was oppressed and suppressed. Most mosques were closed. Russia ended up invading Muslim regions of Central Asia, the Caucasus and later attempted the invasion of Afghanistan.
Muslim resistance to the Russian invasion in the Caucasus started in the 1700’s and continues today in areas like Chechnya, Daghestan and Ingushetia. Russia has killed over a quarter million Muslims there in the last 10 years.
The Russian imperialists used every inhumane form of repression from burning homes and farms to massacres, forced removal and starvation to annihilate the Muslims. The Communists continued this trend and the baton has now been taken over by the current Russian Federation.
We pray for the safety and freedom of all Muslims under Russian occupation and oppression.
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