Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Muslim birthrate worries Russia

Michael Mainville:

Low domestic birthrates and rising immigration from the former Soviet republics are producing explosive growth in Russia's Muslim community, which is on a track to account for more than half the population by midcentury.

"Russia is going through a religious transformation that will be of even greater consequence for the international community than the collapse of the Soviet Union," said Paul Goble, a specialist on Islam in Russia and research associate at the University of Tartu in Estonia.

Two decades ago, the Sobornaya Mosque was the only Islamic house of worship allowed in the Soviet Union. It stood largely empty, filling only with the occasional large foreign delegation from an Islamic country.

Today, it is one of four mosques in Moscow serving a Muslim population of about 2.5 million. On Fridays and holy days, it overflows with worshippers, leaving many to kneel on newspapers outside, their foreheads pressed against the concrete.

As in many countries with growing Islamic populations, tensions are also on the rise. Many ethnic Russians fear their country is losing its traditional identity, while many Muslims are offended by widespread discrimination and a lack of respect for their faith.

Russia's Muslim community is extremely diverse, including Volga Tatars, the myriad ethnicities of the North Caucasus and newly arrived immigrants from Central Asia. But they all share birthrates that are far higher than Russia's ethnic Slavs, most of whom are Orthodox Christians.

Russia's overall population is dropping at a rate of 700,000 people a year, largely because of the short life spans and low birthrates of ethnic Russians. According to the CIA World Factbook, the national fertility rate is 1.28 children per woman, far below what is needed to maintain the country's population of nearly 143 million. The rate in Moscow is even lower, at 1.1 children per woman.

Russia's Muslims, however, are bucking that trend. The fertility rate for Tatars living in Moscow is six children per woman, Mr. Goble said, while the Chechen and Ingush communities are averaging 10 children per woman. At the same time, hundreds of thousands of Muslims from Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan have been flocking to Russia in search of work.

Russia's Muslim population has increased by 40 percent since 1989, to about 25 million. By 2015, Muslims will make up a majority of Russia's conscript army and by 2020 one-fifth of the population.

"If nothing changes, in 30 years, people of Muslim descent will definitely outnumber ethnic Russians," Mr. Goble said.

For many Slavic Russians, the prospect of becoming a minority in their country is terrifying.

"Russia is historically a Slavic, Orthodox Christian land, and we need to make sure it stays that way," said Alexander Belov, the head of the Movement Against Illegal Immigration, an increasingly powerful lobby that has organized dozens of rallies in recent months.

The rise of Russian Muslims worries Orthodox Church

Analyst Predicts Muslim Majority in Russia Within 30 Years


At 4:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Moscow is the 3rd Rome according to some:


I am not orthodox, but if Russia falls, to the muslims, the West will be in very bad shape. Russia also needs to have her monarchy back, otherwise the Russian soul will be incomplete. Catholicism and Orthodoxy need to realize that they (and we) are in this together. The Russian people are on the front lines of this battle (Serbs were too, but we stupidly bombed them when they sould have been are allies to eliminate islam in the balkans). The US had better realize what the hell is going on. The common people do, but out useless leaders don't or don't care.

At 4:30 PM, Anonymous Rosco said...

Serbs were too, but we stupidly bombed them when they sould have been are allies to eliminate islam in the balkans

Of course, we can thank Clinton and the left-wing Democrats for that mistake.

At 3:35 AM, Anonymous CreditExpert said...

Russia is Christian land. It will have never been overpopulated by muslims. Both religions are respectful there. It's not a problem

At 1:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You carved your vast country "Russia" on Muslim lands.Look at your historic conquests then you'll know.Muslims inhabbitted North Asia much before Europeans so this is only natural.
Your own culture has been shaped by Islam.Look at the architecture of your own churches.

If you don't want Russia (the Russian Federation consists of Russia and the regions it controls) to become Muslim, then I suggest it's time you create borders between the Muslim regions that you have occupied for so long (ie Tartary,Chechenya,Desgestan etc.) and your own country let them become independant states.

At 9:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Russian Orthodoxy Christianity is without a doubt the WORST form of christianity and is the reason for Russia's backwardness. It was a shame that when Poland conquered Russia in the 17th century, they accepted the bribe and left Russia without converting it to Catholicism. Its my understanding that the muslims in russia with high birthrates are of Turkic origin. To me this is a positive sign and it would be splendid to see Russia returned to Turkic(or "Turanian" rule). When the wolves join forces that can take down the Bear.

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