Ramadan welcomed by Muslims in Russia and Bulgaria

As Muslims gather together during the holy month of Ramadan, the inadequacy of the number of mosques in the former Communist countries becomes painfully apparent.

Ramadan welcomed by Muslims in Russia and Bulgaria

With the arrival of the Muslim holy month, Ramadan has been welcomed in every corner of the Muslim world, and the problems in the daily lives of Muslims comes under spotlight once again.

Certainly Ramadan also has a very special meaning for Muslims in Russia. After years of communism, which led to immense pressure on religious freedoms, Ramadan was far away from its sprit. The collapse of communist dictatorships has brought relief in terms of Islam and Muslims. Now the total number of mosques in the country is over ten thousand while it was only around 100 during the communist era. Today, Muslims are the second most populated religious community in Russia and there are more than one million Muslims in the Russian capital as a result of increasing migration.

Ramadan provides an occasion for coalescence to Muslims in different parts of Russia. Metin Dönmez, who migrated to Russia 3 years ago, said “Hopefully, Ramadan will accompany fortune to all Muslims. They pray for each other. Ramadan is the most sacred month for us, giving us the chance to meet with Muslim fellows living in different parts of Russia. We come together for sahurs, (the last meal eaten before the day's fasting begins during Ramadan), and tarawih (a particular prayer for the holy month).”

Finding halal meat is still the biggest problem for Muslims

Movies about Islam are presented, educative talks are given and fund-raising meetings for disabled people and orphans are held during the İftar programs where thousands of Muslims have a fast-breaking dinner together in a friendly atmosphere. The six mosques in Moscow are not enough for Muslims especially in Ramadan, a particular time for socialization through various activities. With the aim of overcoming the problem of limited place, there is an ongoing construction for a mosque in Prospekt Mira, but it has not been completed yet.

The inadequate number of mosques is not the only problem Muslims face in Russia. Turkish Ambassador to Moscow Aydın Sezgin noted, “The biggest problem for Muslims living in Russia is finding halal food, food products that are permissible to consume in Islam. Muslims, not having any opportunity other than the foods produced in accordance with Islamic principles, are trying to get halal meat from the butcher serving in the mosque.”

Muslims from various ethnic backgrounds have the chance to come together at İftars, organized by Turkish companies in Russia. In the meantime, President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev celebrated the Muslims’ sacred month in a written statement and wished that Ramadan may turn out to be a month of peace.

One mosque is not enough for Muslims in Sofia

In Bulgaria, where religious freedoms were under strict restrictions during 45 years of communist era, Muslims rushed to the Kadı Seyfullah Mosque, an exceptional example of Ottoman architect which is currently the only open mosque in the Bulgarian capital.

As the Muslim population has been on the rise in Sofia, especially during summer months when Arab tourists and seasonal employees come from several countries, just mosque is not enough to meet Muslims’ need for a place of worship. The municipality has not given permission for building a second mosque, causing a serious problem for nearly the 70 thousand Muslims living in the city.

Source: Kuzey News Agency

Güncelleme Tarihi: 13 Temmuz 2013, 18:07