ISLAM and MUSLIMS IN UKRAINE
National name: Ukrayina
Total area: 233,089 sq mi (603,700 sq km)
Population (2007 est.): 46,299,862
Capital (2003 est.): Kyiv (Kiev), 3,296,100 (metro. area), 2,588,400 (city proper)
Other large cities: Kharkiv, 1,435,200; Odessa, 1,022,300; Donetske, 984,900; Lvov, 700,100
Monetary unit: Hryvna
Languages: Ukrainian 67%, Russian 24%, Romanian, Polish, Hungarian
Ethnicity/race: Ukrainian 77.8%, Russian 17.3%, Belorussian 0.6%, Moldovan 0.5%, Crimean Tatar 0.5%, Bulgarian 0.4%, Hungarian 0.3%, Romanian 0.3%, Polish 0.3%, Jewish 0.2%, other 1.8% (2001)
Religions: Ukrainian Orthodox (Kiev Patriarchate 19%, Moscow Patriarchate 9%, no particular division 16%), Ukrainian Greek Catholic 6%, Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox 2%, Protestant, Jewish, none 38% (2004)
Literacy rate: 100% (2003 est.)
Economic summary: GDP/PPP (2007 est.): $320.1 billion; per capita $6,900. Real growth rate: 7.3%. Inflation: 12.8%.
Located in southeast Europe, the country consists largely of fertile black soil steppes. Mountainous areas include the Carpathians in the southwest and the Crimean chain in the south. Ukraine is bordered by Belarus on the north, by Russia on the north and east, by the Black Sea on the south, by Moldova and Romania on the southwest, and by Hungary, Slovakia, and Poland on the west.
Ukraine was known as “Kievan Rus” (from which Russia is a derivative) up until the 16th century. In the 9th century, Kiev was the major political and cultural center in eastern Europe. Kievan Rus reached the height of its power in the 10th century and adopted Byzantine Christianity. The Mongol conquest in 1240 ended Kievan power. From the 13th to the 16th century, Kiev was under the influence of Poland and western Europe. The negotiation of the Union of Brest-Litovsk in 1596 divided the Ukrainians into Orthodox and Ukrainian Catholic faithful. In 1654, Ukraine asked the czar of Moscovy for protection against Poland, and the Treaty of Pereyasav signed that year recognized the suzerainty of Moscow. The agreement was interpreted by Moscow as an invitation to take over Kiev, and the Ukrainian state was eventually absorbed into the Russian Empire.
After the Russian Revolution, Ukraine declared its independence from Russia on Jan. 28, 1918, and several years of warfare ensued with several groups. The Red Army finally was victorious over Kiev, and in 1920 Ukraine became a Soviet republic. In 1922, Ukraine became one of the founders of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. In the 1930s, the Soviet government's enforcement of collectivization met with peasant resistance, which in turn prompted the confiscation of grain from Ukrainian farmers by Soviet authorities; the resulting famine took an estimated 5 million lives. Ukraine was one of the most devastated Soviet republics after World War II. (For details on World War II, see Headline History, World War II.) On April 26, 1986, the nation's nuclear power plant at Chernobyl was the site of the world's worst nuclear accident. On Oct. 29, 1991, the Ukrainian parliament voted to shut down the reactor within two years' time and asked for international assistance in dismantling it.
When President Leonid Kravchuk was elected by the Ukrainian parliament in 1990, he vowed to seek Ukrainian sovereignty. Ukraine declared its independence on Aug. 24, 1991. In Dec. 1991, Ukrainian, Russian, and Belorussian leaders cofounded a new Commonwealth of Independent States with the capital to be situated in Minsk, Belarus.
Islamic History and Muslims
The majority of Muslims in Ukraine
are of Crimean Tatars in ethnicity and live in the Crimean peninsula. While
ethnic Ukrainians are predominantly Orthodox Christians, Muslims have lived
primarily in the southern regions of the modern territory of the country,
especially in Crimea.
The Spiritual Direction of the Muslims of Ukraine (SDMU) was established in 1992 in Kiev.In the aftermath of collapse of the Soviet Union,the minority Muslim community sought measure to organize itself to be properly represented in new free Ukrainian society. In 1994,its first congress or meeting was held and political structure was organized. Tamin Achmed Mohammed Mutach was elected as its first president.Muslims of all ethnic groups and clans were invited to become its members. Currently it is the second largest Muslim Community representative in Ukraine.It has offices in 10 regions of Ukraine.It runs the Islamic institute in Kiev and also publishes a Russian language daily “Minaret.”
The Spiritual Center of the Muslim
Communities of Ukraine was established on the basis of the Independent Spiritual
Direction of the Muslims of Ukraine, registered in 1994. The center is comprised
of Muslim communities of predominantly Tatar nationality in 12 regions. It is
known as a national-religious organization. Its directing body is based in
Donetsk, where there is also an Islamic cultural centre. Rashid Brahin was
elected head of the presidium. In 1997 the center founded the Party of Muslims
The Spiritual Direction of the
Muslims of Crimea (SDMC) (Crimean Tatar: Qýrým Musulmanlarý Diniy Ýdaresi, QMDÝ;
Russian: Духовное Управление Мусульман Крыма, ДУМК) is considered the largest
Muslim organization in Ukraine. Established in 1991, it currently represents
over 70 percent of all Muslims in Ukraine. It is widely regarded as a spiritual
centre for Crimean Tatars. The organization publishes its own Crimean Tatar
language daily Hidiaet. The Mufti of Crimea (today Emirali Ablayev) is the head
of the organization.
Most Ukrainian Muslims affiliate to
these organizations which help them join mainstream Islamic as well as Ukrainian
daily life. Most Muslims have been trying to form a party to have a united voice
in Politics, a so-called Muslim Congress, but so far it has not been achieved.
Muslims have formed several charitable organizations helping both the Muslim and
non-Muslim communities. These mainly include CAAR Foundation, Al-Bushra, and
Life after Chornobyl. There is also the Interregional Association of Public
Organizations, Arraid which has often gained world attention due to its
15 Ukrainian Youth Embrace Islam
KIEV, July 20, 2005 (IslamOnline.net) – Fifteen Ukrainian youth embraced Islam, highlighting the spread of the faith in the former Soviet republic, with the efforts of the Islamic bodies in the country achieving tangible results.
The Ukrainian youth reverted to Islam at the Islamic center in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv -- a body affiliated to the Federation of Social Organizations (Arraid) -- the largest Islamic group in the country.
The center was opened less than two months ago and the 15 youth, seven males and eight females, frequently visited it and were informed about the faith through efforts of its workers.
"Since the opening of the Islamic center in Kharkiv in June 2005, many Ukrainians have been visiting the center to get knowledge of the Islamic teachings and civilization," the Arraid said in a statement e-mailed to IslamOnline.net Tuesday, July 19.
"In almost a month and half, such efforts resulted in convincing fifteen youth to embrace Islam," it added.
The federation groups 10 Islamic organizations and three Islamic centers in 10 Ukrainian cities.
Vitalie, a student at the Faculty of Economics, is one of the Ukrainian youth who adopted Islam as their new faith. He frequently visited the library of the Islamic center to look for a faith that satisfies his religious needs. One day, while reading a book about Islamic supplications, Vitalie was approached by a Muslim preacher at the center who asked him about the book he was reading.
"It is a wonderful book that makes you watch God in every move and action you do," Vitalie answered. When asked about his faith, the Ukrainian young man said he has been looking for a religion that convinces him to embrace. "But now, I feel I have found the religion that I can feel assured to accept."
After a discussion with the Muslim preacher on issues such as the Power of Allah, nature of Christ and Islam's stance on the family, neighbors and society, Vitalie pronounced the Shahadah (the testimony of faith). "Since he pronounced there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah, Vitalie has been very happy and has been frequently visiting the Islamic center." Asked about his future steps, Vitalie said he would first learn the pillars of Islam."Then I will try to convince my acquaintance, my parents, brother, friends and university teachers to embrace Islam." There are two million Muslims in Ukraine, making up 4% of the overall 48-million population.( http://www.islamonline.net/English/News/2005-07/20/article01.shtml )
Ukrainian Memorizes Qur’an, a First in 85 Years
KIEV, April 20, 2005 (IslamOnline.net) – In the first religious event of its kind in the former Soviet republic, a Ukrainian Muslim student memorized the Noble Qur’an, the first case after long decades of persecution against the Muslim minority in the country under the Communist rule.
After a year and a half of hard work, Suliman Woleef, a student in the Radwan center for the memorization of Qur’an, a center affiliated to the Federation of Social Organizations (Arraid) -- the largest Islamic group in the country -- memorized the Noble Book, a first in Ukraine since independence, the federation’s Web site said Tuesday, April 19.
“This event is a remarkable point in the history of the Ukrainian Muslims, who have been intent on regaining their religious identity and heritage after years of persecution under the Communist rule,” said Arraid chairman, Farouq Ashour.
Radwan center, the only place for the memorization of Qur’an, is a boarding school in Ukraine where some 20 students, aged 14-19, are studying the Islamic tenets and seera (biography of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
During their three-year study, students also study subjects of the regular secondary grade, in preparation for joining university after ending their course in the center.
Apparently short of words, Woleef said he was unable to express his feelings after succeeding in memorizing the Noble Book. “When I was young, I used to get surprised when I heard from fellow Muslims that they memorized the Noble Qur’an and wondered how I could memorize the Noble Book,” he said.
To keep his memorization of the Noble Qur’an, Woleef said he is used to continually repeating his memorization day in and day out. “I call on all Ukrainian Muslims to pay a great attention to memorizing and reciting the Noble Qur’an, seeking Allah’s help to meet this end.”
Seren Arefof, a teacher in the Radwan center, expressed delight over Woleef's great achievement. “Woleef's memorization of the Noble Qur’an represents a turning point in the history of the center, giving us strength for Ukrainian Muslims to make more achievements,” he said. There are two million Muslims in Ukraine, making up 4% of the overall 48-million population. ( http://www.islamonline.net/English/News/2005-04/20/article01.shtml )
Mufti-Dzhami mosque of XVII c., Theodosia, Crimea
Muhammad Asad (born Leopold Weiss in July
1900 in what was then Austro-Hungarian Lwów in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, now
Lviv in Ukraine; died 1992) was a Jew who converted to Islam and later served as
one of the first Pakistani ambassadors to the United Nations.
Unromantisches Morgenland (The Unromantic
Orient), Frankfurter Zeitung, Palestine, 1924; Islam At the Cross Roads, New
York, 1934; The Road To Mecca, New York, 1954; The Principles of State and
Government In Islam, California Press, 1961; Sahih al –Bukhari: The Early Years
of Islam, Arafat Publication, Srinagar, Kashmir, 1935; Translation of the Qur’an
into the English language with explanatory notes. The Message of the Qur’an,
Dublin, 1980 and This Law of Ours, Dacca, 1980. He also brought out a journal,
Arafat. This journal, was published from Lahore before partition in the late
forties. Muhammad Asad’s first book as a committed Muslim was Islam at the Cross
Roads, published first in New York in 1934 and dedicated to the young Muslims.
The text went through repeated printings and editions both in India and
Pakistan. Muhammad Asaf translated it into Urdu in 1991 under the title Islam Do
–Rahe Par. More importantly, however, it appeared in an Arabic translation in
Beirut in 1946 under the title of al–Islam ‘ala muftaqir al–turuq. It went
through numerous editions in the 1940’s and 50’s. Then in 2001, it was published
in India by Goodword Books under the original title, ‘Islam at the Cross Roads’.
The book consisting of 141 pages, is divided into 8 chapters, and has a preface.
The chapters are as follows:
Islamic Centers and Organizations
Federation of Social Organisations in Ukraine, Kiev, UA
Ihya Assunna, Kharkov phone: 0572-658707
Islamic Social Cultural Center, Kiev, UA
Al - Amal,
Muslim Owned Business