Muslim Ukraine

Modern Ukraine belongs to those European countries which have their own native Muslim population. Islam in Ukraine has more than a thousand years of history. But over time this religion and culture existed illegally in Ukraine, which led to its downfall. Modern Ukraine is home to near 2 millions of Islam followers.

While the vast majority of present-day Ukraine professed Christianity, Muslims have been living mostly in the Southern part of the Country, and in Crimea, ruled by Crimean Khanate and Ottoman Empire for centuries. These people mostly belonged to the ethnic group of Crimean Tatars.

During the Nazi invasion of Crimea, many Crimean Tatars, who had suffered from USSR policy, started collaborating with Nazi Germany. In the end of the war, by the order of Stalin, all the Crimean Tatars have been deported from Crimea to the Central Asia, mainly to Uzbekistan. During two days of May 1944, Red Army troops evicted near 200,000 of Crimean Tatars. The deportation was held in extremely bad conditions and caused death of 25% of Crimean Tatars during the process and the next few years. Everything connected to Crimean Tatars in Crimea was destroyed. The massive return of Crimean Tatars to their homeland began in 1989. These events have inflicted an irreparable blow on Islam in Ukraine.

At the present time, Islam has an important place in the spiritual, cultural, social and political life of Ukraine. There are near 500 Ukrainian Muslim communities, mostly in Crimea. In addition to Crimean Tatars, a large amount of Muslims live in Donbass, Donetsk mining region. Basically they represent different Muslim ethnic groups of the former USSR, who have settled here as miners.

Currently, Muslim communities are supported by Ukrainian Government and such countries as Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and others. A number of native Ukrainians and Russians tend to adopt Islam, mostly by reasons of marriage. This proves the lack of any conflicts or misunderstandings between Islam and other religions in Ukraine.

Ukrainian Mosque
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03 2011