Submitted by George Callaghan…
One of the many fantastic things about Russia that you will near learn from the mainstream media is how cordial relations are between Muslims and Christians. Russia is a secular country. The government does not support or oppose any religion. People are free to practise any faith so long as this does not encourage them to break the law. At least 50% of Russians are Orthodox Christians. There are others who belong to different Christian denominations. At least 10% of Russia’s population is Muslim. There are Buddhists, Jews and even Hari Krishnas. I I have seen Hari Krishnas chanting their mantras on the street. Plenty of people are atheists.
There are over 70 indigenous minorities in Russia. Some of them are Muslims. There are also immigrants from Muslim countries of the erstwhile USSR. The Muslim community in Russia is growing rapidly.
Contrary to what you might believe Islam was openly practised throughout the Soviet era. Mosques and madrassas were allowed but there were not many of them.
I am a convinced anti-communist. One of the things I must commend communist for it ending theocracy and obscurantism. People have the right to practice their faith. There are mosques in every major Russian city. Some women choose to wear a hijab. Religious reactionaries are very thin on the ground in Russia.
Chechnya is one of the autonomous republics of Russia. Ramazan Kadyrov is president there. Laws in Chechnya reflect the traditional values of the people. You can hear the ‘azan’ or prayer call there. Alcohol is not permitted there.
Russia has laws intended to maintain societal harmony. People are not permitted to spread odium towards any ethnic or religious community. Some consider this to be an excessive infringement on free expression. Other countries restrict free speech on other issues. You might disapprove of this law but it certainly ensures that the different ethnic and religious communities live together amicably. One of the things that has always impressed me is the fabulously warm relations between different religions.