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  • johnpi 9:25 am on November 1, 2009 Permalink
    Tags: Crimea, , , , Ukraine   

    Earlier, I linked a press release from the Russian Interfax News that asserted that 90 percent of the Crimean Tatars are members of an extremist Islamic organization” (Hizb ut Tahrir). This recent article from the NY Times about the struggle to build a large mosque in the Crimean capital puts that piece of propaganda in perspective.

    The Crimean Tatars were deported en masse by Stalin to work camps and gulags in other areas of the Soviet Union, where many died. Since the USSR collapse the Tatars have been immigrating back to Crimea in large numbers.

    The mosque was supposed to signify the revival of those expelled, the Crimean Tatars, a Turkic ethnic group that suffered as wretched a fate as any under Communism. But with work held up by local authorities, the plan has instead stirred up a dispute involving politics, communal grievances, international tensions and historic traumas.

    The Tatars’ return has repeatedly touched off legal clashes over restitution of land and property, much of which is now owned by ethnic Russians. Some have turned violent.

    The situation is complicated by the political status of Crimea, which would generally prefer to secede from Ukraine and rejoin Russia. Crimea was transferred by Nikita S. Khrushchev, then the Soviet leader, to Ukraine in 1954, a move then thought to be a formality, since it remained in the Soviet Union and was populated mostly by ethnic Russians.

    Tatars have better ties with the Ukrainian government, and are often seen by ethnic Russian nationalists in Crimea as Kiev’s proxies. The three sides jockey for power on the peninsula, and the mosque has been one focal point.

    Tatar leaders maintain that the mosque is being blocked in part to stoke anti-Muslim and anti-Ukrainian sentiment, especially in advance of presidential elections in Ukraine, scheduled for January.

  • johnpi 8:43 am on October 30, 2009 Permalink
    Tags: Crimea, , , , , Tatarstan   

    Same planet, different world.

    Russian press release: ’11 members of Hizb ut-Tahrir extremist organization convicted in Tatarstan.’

    The Supreme Court of Tatarstan found 12 activists of the Kazan division of the international terrorist organization Islamic Liberation Party (Hizb ut-Tahrir) guilty of extremism.

    “Seven men, including Tajik citizen Dzhurayev and six Russians, have received four to eight years in a penal colony,” court press secretary Natalya Loseva told Interfax.

    Four other Kazan residents have received suspended sentences of three years and six months to five years in prison.

    “The accomplice Gimaliyev was found insane and is exempt from criminal liability. He will be forcibly treated,” Loseva said.

    “Forcibly treated.” Horrible.

    In another press release about extremist influence, the Russians claim that the number of followers of the Hizb ut-Tahrir movement among Crimean Muslims has jumped from 800-900 to 30,000, “including 90 percent of Tatars from Alushta.”

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