Pro-Russian authorities in Crimea banned Islamic literature along with similar audio- and video-materials. List of prohibited sources contains more than 300 positions. Such authorities’ decision caused an outrage from the local Muslims, mostly Crimean Tatars (about 300,000 people).
It bears reminding that Russian Federation annexed the Crimean peninsula in March 2014.
After the ban, Crimean law enforcement agencies launched a scale check-up of the islamic cultural centres and mosques to reveal any forbidden materials and confiscate them under the pretence that those materials contain calls to extremism and terrorism.
Such books popular among the Russian-speaking Muslims “Gardens of the righteous”, “40 hadith of Imaam an-Nawawee”, “Ar-rahik al-Mahtum”, “General introduction to Islam”, “Personality of a modern Muslim” and a book of Duas “Fortress of a Muslim”
Ban for Islamic literature followed a range actions undertaken by the new authorities towards the Crimean Tatars, who didn’t recognize Russia’s annexation of Crimea, but rather recognized this act as violation of their rights and intentional persecution.
Announcing Crimean Tatars leader, such as MP Mr. Mustafa Dzhemilev and Head of Crimean Tatar Mejlis Mr.Refat Chubarov, as “personae non grata” became perhaps the most radical of such actions.
Several Islamic Cultural and Educational organisations, mosques and homes of Crimean Tatars were subject to rummage by the law enforcement officers over the past weeks. They were “looking for weapons and forbidden materials”, still didn’t find any.
Now the Crimean Tatars living in the peninsula try to avoid giving comments to the Crimean events, not wanting to be detained and questioned by the law police.
“What we can see in Crimea is violating human right and inoculating Russian dictatorship regime, especially towards people who stand against it, Crimean Tatars in particular,” - Mr. Aslan Umerov, Head of Crimean Tatar Community in Kyiv, said. He added that most of Crimean people feel the pressure of this “dictatorship regime” today, longing for the freedom they used to have when living in Ukraine.
Putting Islam In The Frames Of Tradition
Prominent Islamic figures of Ukraine see the ban of Islamic literature and other religious-related materials as the attempt to put Islam in the frames Russia considers acceptable - to make the religion play only the ceremonial part in the Crimean Tatars’ lives.
Mr.Said Ismagilov, Mufti of the Religious Administration of Muslims of Ukraine, said in his interview for “Al-Jazeera”, that the list of forbidden materials includes world-famous books not containing anything regarding extremism and terrorism. He also added that the aim for this ban lies in attempt of holding Islam on the level of tradition and ceremony and not letting it to the intellectual level, where Islam encourages people to introduce positive changes to the society.
Mr.Ismagilov also noted that now Muslims in Crimea have the same problems as the Muslims in Russia - the state wants the Muslims to consider themselves Russians rather than Muslim, which, indeed, is the extension of the Soviet policy towards all the religious groups.