ISLAM and MUSLIMS IN LITHUANIA
Republic of Lithuania
National name: Lietuvos Respublika
Total area: 25,174 sq mi (65,200 sq km)
Population (2008 est.): 3,565,205
Capital and largest city (2003 est.): Vilnius, 543,500
Other large cities: Kaunas, 379,800; Klaipéda, 193,400
Monetary unit: Litas
Languages: Lithuanian 82% (official), Russian 8%, Polish 6% (2001)
Ethnicity/race: Lithuanian 83.4%, Polish 6.7%, Russian 6.3%, other or unspecified 3.6% (2001)
Religions: Roman Catholic 79%, Russian Orthodox 4%, Protestant (including Lutheran, evangelical Christian Baptist) 2%, none 10% (2001)
National Holiday: Independence Day, February 16
Literacy: 100% (2003 est.)
Economic summary: GDP/PPP (2007 est.): $59.64 billion; per capita $17,700. Real growth rate: 8.8%. Inflation: 5.8%.
Lithuania is situated on the eastern shore of the Baltic Sea and borders Latvia on the north, Belarus on the east and south, and Poland and the Kaliningrad region of Russia on the southwest. It is a country of gently rolling hills, many forests, rivers and streams, and lakes. Its principal natural resource is agricultural land.
The Liths, or Lithuanians, united in the 12th century under the rule of Mindaugas, who became king in 1251. Through marriage, one of the later Lithuanian rulers became the king of Poland (Ladislaus II) in 1386, uniting the countries. In 1410, the Poles and Lithuanians defeated the powerful Teutonic Knights at Tannenberg. From the 14th to the 16th century, Poland and Lithuania made up one of medieval Europe's largest empires, stretching from the Black Sea almost to Moscow. The two countries formed a confederation for almost 200 years, and in 1569 they formally united. Russia, Prussia, and Austria partitioned Poland in 1772, 1792, and 1795. As a consequence, Lithuania came under Russian rule after the last partition. Russia attempted to immerse Lithuania in Russian culture and language, but anti-Russian sentiment continued to grow. Following World War I and the collapse of Russia, Lithuania declared independence (1918), under German protection.
The republic was then annexed by the Soviet Union in 1940. From June 1941 to 1944, it was occupied by German troops, with whom Lithuania served in World War II. Some 240,000 Jews were massacred in Lithuania during the Nazi years. In 1944, the Soviets again annexed Lithuania.
The Lithuanian independence movement reemerged in 1988. In 1990, Vytautas Landsbergis, the non-Communist head of the largest Lithuanian popular movement (Sajudis), was elected president. On the same day, the Supreme Council rejected Soviet rule and declared the restoration of Lithuania's independence, the first Baltic republic to take this action. Confrontation with the Soviet Union ensued along with economic sanctions, but they were lifted after both sides agreed to a face-saving compromise.
Lithuania's independence was quickly recognized by major European and other nations, including the United States. The Soviet Union finally recognized the independence of the Baltic states on Sept. 6, 1991. UN admittance followed on Sept. 17, 1991.
Islamic History and Muslims
Lithuania has some 12 mosques and one group working to spread awareness of Islam. Muslims in Lithuania are estimated at 110,000, mostly of Caucasus and Arab origins. The group said more than 10,000 young people from various areas of the country have bought copies of the Noble Qur'an from government-run libraries in Vilnius. The study also expected Islam to become one of the main religions in Lithuania within 20 or 30 years. The European Parliament committees invited Muslims to their meetings on the bloc's draft constitution, which carry articles for religious freedom and equal treatment of minorities.
In Lithuania, unlike many other northern and western European
countries, Islam came long ago. It was so because the medieval Grand Duchy of
Lithuania, stretching from Baltic to Black seas, included some Muslim lands in
the south, inhabited by Crimean Tatars. Some of people from those lands were
moved into ethnically Lithuanian lands, now the current Republic of Lithuania,
mainly under rule of Grand Duke Vytautas. The Tatars, now referred to as
Lithuanian Tatars, lost their language over time and now speak Lithuanian as
natives; however, they have not lost Islam as their religion. Due to long
isolation from all the other Islamic world, the practices of the Lithuanian
Tatars differs somewhat from the rest of Sunni Muslims; they are not considered
a separate sect however.
Mosque in Kaunas
Mosquee de Raiziai
Mosquee de Keturiasdesimt Tortoriu
Mosquee de Nemezis
Islamic Centers and Organizations
Lithuanian Muslim Youth Community, TOTORIŲ g. 6, Ramybės parkas,LT-3000 Kaunas, 3043, LITHUANIA. Phone: +37065506504, Fax: +370-37718638, Email: LMYS_1995@yahoo.com, URL: http://www.musulmonai.lt
Lietuvos Musulmonu Muftijatas, Vivulskio str.
3, ilnius, Vilnius , LITHUANIA. Directions: Near the Snoro Bankas bank on
Algirdo Street. General Information: It\'s a Masjed and Islamic center as the
Muftiat in Lithuania.
Muslim Owned Business