What's New in Putin's Russia?


Human rights abuse is nothing new in Russia. It is worse than a perennial thing there. It has its highs and lows, but never quite disappears. 

In the year 1860, shortly after the Czarist army moved into the Caucasus, more than 400,000 Muslims were killed. So, in the 19th century Muslims of the Caucasus were singled out for their refusal to bow down to Czarist Russia and took the brunt of Russian abuses against the 'other' people. Then the target of abuse moved to the Jews who were blamed for the assassination of Czar Alexander in 1881. The popular slogan was 'Kill a Jew and save Russia.' The pogrom against the Jews lasted for nearly four decades until the Bolsheviks came to power in 1917.

During Stalin's period, Muslim population of the Caucasus, Chechnya, Ingushetia, and all the Muslim Republics in Central Asia became the easy targets. Millions of Muslims were displaced and 300,000 killed just in the Caucasus. The people of Chechnya along with their fellow co-religionists in the neighboring Ingushetia were dragged from their homes in 1944 on Stalin's whims to wastelands of Kazakhstan on a cooked-up charge of collaborating with the Germans. Both these peoples were sentenced to penal servitude and subjected to systematic genocide, worse than those of the Siberian Gulag. For a time being they were declared an extinct people, who did not exist in Stalin's time. Thirteen years later, under Khrushchev, both these peoples were reinstated, told it was a mistake and invited to return to their homelands. Many did so on the foot. While Chechens still had a home to return to, the Ingush Muslims found their lands and houses occupied by Christian Ossetians.

After Stalin's fall, a period marked by relatively lull or less hostility against the 'other' people ushered in. Shortly thereafter, however, the Jews became the new victims as they opted to find refuge in the prosperous western world.

With the war in Afghanistan and the body bags of Russian soldiers arriving home in the 1980s, the wave of hatred turned against the darker skinned (compared to Russians) Muslims from Central Asia. And the situation worsened after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Ukraine, Belarus, Armenia could secede, but why the Muslim Republics? And with the election of Dzhokhor Dudayev in Chechnya, hatred simply escalated. Dudayev was popularly elected on the strength of his promise to free Chechnya from Russia. Yeltsin demolished Grozny and killed nearly a hundred of thousand Chechens. Dudayev was also assassinated.

Then came the Apartment bombing in 1999 in Moscow. Chechens were blamed for the death of civilians. In a BBC and NPR news coverage, nearly two years after the blast it was alleged that Vladimir Putin, now the Russian President (then the FSS Chief), had master-minded the Moscow Apartment bombing to stir up hatred against Chechen Muslims, so that the Russian government could launch its second savage campaign in Chechnya and facilitate his winning the Presidential election (NPR News, All Things Considered, Feb. 21, '02; BBC News, March 5, 2002). It worked for him. Putin was elected by a big margin over his nearest competitor.

Under the disguise of curbing 'Islamic extremism' and fighting 'terrorism', Putin rejected the legitimate aspiration of the Chechens to breakaway and carried out his extermination campaign that killed tens of thousands of Chechens. The territory has since been effectively blocked from outside monitoring, especially by the human rights groups. But still the Chechens have refused to bow down to Russian savagery. Their struggle for freedom continues, while the world stares at unperturbed and unashamed of its appalling indifference to the suffering there. Out of such apathy from the world body, the freedom movement is becoming radicalized with splinter groups where widows and orphans of the murdered victims are now willing to fight and get killed. That is the ultimate consequence of what dehumanization of a once-proud nationality could do.

When the Chechen rebels (many of them widows) took over a Moscow theater (Oct. 23, '02) and threatened to kill everyone in it if their friends and relatives were not released from Russian prisons, the Russians finally ran poisonous gas into the theater, killing over 100 hostages and the rebels. Shortly after that the Russian Duma ordered the bodies of the dead Chechens in the theater covered and wrapped in pigskin and buried in secret locations.[1] The Muslim families cannot find the bodies to give them a proper burial. Imagine the magnitude of government-orchestrated abuse in Russia.

In a December 2002 report, the International League for Human Rights recorded the following abuses that were practiced against the Chechens living within the Russian Federation:[2] 

  1. Police checks of dwellings where Chechen families live permanently or temporarily; searches of living premises; demands of written explanations concerning the reasons for living in Moscow (even if permanent registration was available) and the whereabouts during the (Moscow theater) terrorist act; harassment, humiliations; threats to evict from Moscow.
  2. Detentions, forced conveying to police stations, dactylography, taking photographs. 
  3. Criminal frame-ups on fabricated accusations of drugs and arms possession or support to terrorists. At best - threats to plant drugs and demands to confess guilt.
  4. Refusals in registration at the place of sojourn, total denial in some police stations and denial for the term of more than 10 days in the others.
  5. Refusals in admittance to school and sending Chechen pupils away from classes.
  6. Firings from their jobs.

The Russian passport system, a slightly modified Soviet passport system, is one of the major instruments of ethnic discrimination in public sphere. There is also a widely spread practice to confiscate a passport as a pledge for the payment of a penalty, and passports are often lost at militia (police) stations. All these kinds of restrictions and control are primarily targeting ethnic minorities originating from the Caucasus, both from the North Caucasus within the Russian Federation and from the independent states of the South Caucasus. The Chechens and Meskhetians are two such groups who are most adversely discriminated in Russia because of their ethnicity.

When the "anti-terrorist campaign" was started in September 1999, the Ministry of Internal Affairs issued an order that banned issuing passports to people arriving from Chechnya. In spring 2000, the ban was lifted in relation to foreign passports; the Chechens were allowed to get passports outside Chechnya at the places of their temporary registration. Few Chechens have been able to use this opportunity so far because of non-cooperation from governmental agencies. As a result, they are denied health care, social security, employment and education in Russia.

Chechens are framed-up en masse and this is the most cruel and cynical form of discrimination. Between autumn 1999 and spring 2000 there was a veritable campaign of falsification that engulfed the country. The wave returned, on a lesser scale, in August 2000 after a blast in the passage under the Pushkin Square in Moscow. The pattern was more or less the same: the police planted drugs, shells, hand grenades or explosives during personal searches of Chechens or searches in their apartments. The victims were taken to precincts to extort confessions from them. This was a crude work yet none of the accused was acquitted. At best defense lawyers managed to insist on further investigation or suspended sentence. Light or suspended sentences are sort of an admission that the accusations were false. Still, some of the accused were sentenced to 7 to 10 years in prison. 

In many regions of Russia the police practices unlawful searches, checks and detentions of Chechens. At best they are fingerprinted, at worst they are beaten and locked up. In Daghestan the special task police detachments regularly raid the villages and districts populated by the Chechens who are harassed and subjected to violence. In the Kaliningrad Region all Chechens, including women and children, are subjected to forced fingerprinting in violation of the document 'On State Fingerprinting in the Russian Federation.' The same practice is widespread in Moscow.

The Meskhetian Turks, or Meskhetians, are an ethnic minority of the Russian Federation. In recent years, the Turks in Krasnodar Krai [Territory], a southern region of Russia, have been facing an unprecedented campaign of harassment and persecution launched by the regional government and supported by federal authorities. They are deprived of the right to freedom of movement and the right to choose a place of residence.[3] The escalation of organized, direct discrimination against the Meskhetians as a distinct ethnic group; the systematic local media incitement of hatred against the Meskhetians; and the massive involvement in the reprisals against them of the extreme nationalist paramilitary units known as 'Cossacks' have pushed the situation to the brink of possible massive violence. Mounting discrimination and the harassment of the Meskhetian Turks sponsored and carried out by the regional authorities in Krasnodar Krai have been completely neglected by the federal government. The federal authorities have announced their willingness to drive the Turks out of Russia. The Krasnodar governor repeatedly said that his plans to get rid of 'migrants' have been supported by President Vladimir Putin.[4] 

There are many Muslims who still live in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Because of their darker skin, racial discrimination and violence against them are quite common.[5] Russia's Interior Ministry estimates the number of skinheads and extremist youths in Russia at 20,000, including 5,000 in the Moscow area and 5,000 in St. Petersburg. Russian Skinheads threaten a dozen embassies with a "war against foreigners." 

In April '03, skinheads in the central city of Yekaterinburg locked five Tajik laborers in an abandoned train car and burned four of them alive. One man survived. An Afghan man died after a racist attack in the St. Petersburg metro in June '02.[6] An ethnic Uzbek was stabbed by three youths on a trolleybus in Moscow on October 1, 2003. Twenty-six year old Sherzod Khushmakov was traveling with another Uzbek migrant on the bus when three teenagers approached him. Without provocation of any kind, they stabbed both men multiple times before fleeing. Khushmakov later died in the hospital.[7]

In St. Petersburg, skinheads armed with an ax and a knife appeared at a Tajik settlement on Sept. 21, '03 and killed a 6-year-old Tajik girl. A 5-year-old girl and an 18-month-old baby were seriously injured. Recent attacks in St. Petersburg by youths have targeted Africans and Vietnamese. A year earlier in the same city about 30 skinheads beat Mamed Mamedov, an Azeri melon trader, to death.[8] The youths told police they routinely perform "sweeps" through the streets to rid the city of immigrants, the Russian news agency ITAR-Tass reported.

On Feb. 13, '04 about a dozen teenagers, armed with a knife, knuckle-dusters, chains and bats attacked Yusuf Sultanov, 35, and his daughter Khursheda and nephew Alabir, 11, in the St. Petersburg city center. Khursheda was stabbed 11 times in her arms, chest and stomach. She died from blood loss before an ambulance arrived. The level of hatred against 'others' in Russia can be spotted from the remark of Igor Agafonov, 24, a member of extremist groups. He said, "The newcomers don't belong, and if they won't leave, they will be driven out." To him, the murder of Khursheda was justified. "We have to protect ourselves," he said. None of the teenagers who killed the nine-year-old Tajik girl has yet been found or detained. 36 representatives of St. Petersburg's national diaspora sent a letter to the city governor and heads of St. Petersburg police, where they expressed their indignation. Hate crimes of this nature against Muslims have become quite common in recent days after the recent Moscow subway bomb-blast, where the Chechens are again blamed (while they deny any such involvement) for causing it. 

During the Soviet era, the KGB was notorious for assassinating its adversaries and political dissidents, home and abroad. So, it's not surprising to find that under the leadership of Putin, a former KGB agent, last month Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev, the exiled ex-President of Chechnya, died in a car blast in Qatar. Russia's intelligence services are suspected for the assassination. Local media in Doha reported that Yandarbiyev's jeep had been booby-trapped before it drove him, his two bodyguards and 13-year-old son, Daud, home after Friday prayers. The bomb was detonated 300 meters away from the mosque. Yandarbiyev died from his wounds in hospital on Friday, Feb. 13, '04.[9] 

Ethnic violence has been on the rise across the Russian Federation, in part because extremist groups were emboldened by surprising gains made by nationalist parties during parliamentary elections, and also by Putin's tough talks against the Chechens. Many Russian police investigators downplay the problem, treating acts of violence by extremist youths on immigrant victims and migrant workers as routine street-fights or hooliganism so their jurisdictions aren't seen as hotbeds of ethnic violence. The Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other human rights organizations have reported and pleaded with the Russian authorities to stop such abuses, however to no avail.[10] 

O thou whose interior is denuded of piety
But wearest outwardly the garb of hypocrisy
Do not display a curtain of seven colors.
Thou hast reed mats inside thy house.
- Shaykh Sa'di (R) [Gulistan]

What has been presented above is by no means an all-inclusive report on abuses of human rights in Putin's Russia. The situation inside Chechnya is much worse. Chechnya has been razed to the ground, surrendered to a massacring Russian army whose abuse of human rights would have raised the eyebrows of Pharaoh and Hulagu Khan. And no one -- not the United Nations, not the European Union, not world public opinion, not any one of the democracies of the 'civilized west' that are so proud of their principles - cries 'bloody murder.' And worse still, President Bush, the leader of the 'free world,' strengthens the knot of friendship with the Butcher of Chechnya - Putin - and blames the Chechens for "spreading all the chaos and destruction, not Russian carpet-bombing." Thirsty for Russian oil and natural gas, the European Union gulps its principles and rolls over like a jolly dog. What a monumental hypocrisy!


Dr. Habib Siddiqui lives in suburban Philadelphia, PA, and is the author of the book Islamic Wisdom. He can be reached at [email protected]

Footnotes:

[1] Pork and pigskin are considered an anathema to Muslims.

[2] Compliance of the Russian Federation with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, An NGO report to the UN Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination, (62nd session, March 2003), Moscow, December 2002.

[3] Since 1989, most of the Turks who have come to Krasnodar Krai (between 10-13,000) have been refused a propiska. Krasnodar Krai is the only one region of Russia where the Turks are deprived residence registration en masse. The lack of a propiska results in denial or restriction of almost all civil, political and social rights. For example, Meskhetian Turks have found that their marriages are not registered and paternity is not officially recognized because they lack the propiska. In the cases, when the Meskhetian mothers do not have passports, local registrars refuse to make official records of the births of Meskhetian children and to issue birth certificates. The regional authorities have imposed a ban on official registration of ownership rights to the houses and plots of land purchased by people without a local propiska, including the Meskhetians. Accordingly, their rights to own and dispense with their dwellings and plots of land are restricted. The Turks cannot acquire land or other real estate, and can only sell their houses and the plots of land attached to them under extreme circumstances, after receiving special permission from local authorities and only if they are leaving the region. They are not allowed to construct anything on their properties. Officially, they cannot sell or purchase cars or other motor vehicles. They cannot receive or restore personal identity papers including internal and foreign passports.

[5] There are no reliable statistics on the incidence of racist crimes in Russia, although more than three-quarters of the Africans who responded to a survey by the Moscow Protestant Chaplaincy said they had been physically or verbally attacked in 2002 (Financial Times).

[10] The International League for Human Rights compiled a report in December of 2002 on reports of racial and other forms of discrimination that is so pervasive in Putin's Russia. You may view the report by clicking Here.


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  31 Comments   Comment

  1. Akbar Khan from Canada

    Assalaamu'Alaiykum Hudd Al'Hamd,

    The one who calls himself "Nick Cameron" fuels off of your responses and makes strange accusations such as the foundation of Pakistan as being treacherous meanwhile more Muslims live in India today than in Pakistan. It was a geo-political issue where Muslims in some parts of India were being assaulted and killed, driven out of their homes, villages burned, women being raped, and so they wanted to leave and find their place of refuge. Even though I myself know this sicne it happened to my family, the one who calls himself "Nick Cameron" will still try to twist your words about Nigeria as being a generalization which somehow all of a sudden includes places like India and Pakistan.

    My point being...there is no effect on his mentality no matter how much irrefutable truth you present to him. Point being...he fuels off of your responses to twist certain statements in favour of his assumptions...he has accused me of threatening someone in another article while I was referring to the end of discussion when it comes to someone attempting to take me from Islam (I was providing mebrocky with an example of my unshakable trust in Allah)...

    Just address your responses to the general public about one of his points by providing factual info, instead of responding to him because he comes up with reasons to accuse you of being a certain way, etc....that way he knows we don't care about his ridiculous comparisons in which he draws between Kashmiri's as being Hindus before they were Muslim, and the Nigerians as being "Muslims before Christianization."

    Hudd you are a very educated person who does not need to respond to a troll who makes silly comparisons between something that happened hundreds of years ago, with what is currently happening today.

    Wassalaamu'Alaiykum

  2. Hudd D'Alhamd from Canada

    .. Nick! .. the division of Nigeria over religion would be like the separation of Utah from the US on basis of religion. US would crush them in the name of freedom and democracy though, you dig? With India is a totally different issue. India was under the Mughal for 800 years with Islaam as state religion. The British conquered India and treated it like a region of Britain. The single oposing force they had were the Muslims. They counterbalanced that by reviving the national ancient religion of Hinduism. Thus they produced the rift, like any place in the world they visited. If you have the indigenious population devided and at loggerheads, you can not only control, but very well manipulate them. The Brish wanted a devided India, they planned to revisit the place in a possible intervention in a civil war. It never happened. They tried hard though.

    I am not a young man, for your information and your impertinance is even below your kind's basest norms. US is not the measure of things. Don't forget, after 30 years of war with Vit Nam, they needed to leave with their tails between their legs and allow the communists of the North take over the country. What a disgraceful defeat!

    Bottom line, Nicky .., ET, Pakistan, Philipines, India are not counties in the province of Ontario, Canada, therefore, I wouldn't care less who separates and who unites, if the people are happy with their decision, in the end that's all what harmony is about. If you condone so much the separation/division of countries, how can you live with yourself, knowing that your ancestral land is oppressing the Moros and don't grant them independance? After all it would be in line with your system of judgement, now wouldn't it? If you live in a house of glass don't throw stones. You have the ability to pee against the wind and You do it, You don't have to though, be reasonable. But that would be an oxymoron.

  3. Nick Cameron from United States

    Note to all:

    A Muslim here just went on a clearly racist rant against East Timorese and Filipinos. A number of Muslims here have chosen to attack me and other non-Muslims for bigotry, so will they also rebuke their brother or will they remain silent? How this develops (or doesn't develop) will reveal much, but I'll withhold judgment for the next few days.

  4. Nick Camarongan from United States

    Hudd D'Alhamd:

    For the record, I am indifferent to this article. IO just chose "disagree" at times because it allows for more space to write. 😉

    Why would you be pissed off? We're just having a casual discussion about the goings on in the world. Frankly, I don't understand the tendency of Muslims here to go crazy over doctrinal and ideological disagreements here. It's not as if it'd kill any of you to see a different POV, lol.

    I'm originally from the Philippines and I can assure you that the problem is not "being a slave" to the United States. If you know anything about that country, you'd realize that the real oppressor is the corrupt system of greedy politicians. As for being dogs because of eating dogs, well that's a bit racist don't you think? Makes me seriously doubt that you have ever been a member of Greenpeace, not to mention my earlier assessment that you want to be a nice guy. Anyways, I'm fairly certain that you've mistaken us for Viet Namese, since dog-eating is quite rare in the Philippines as opposed to Viet Nam. (FYI, Filipinos and Vietnamese are different ethicities and cultures.)

    In any event, you need to clear up the answer to my question, because it seems a bit too muddled. Why is it that the Hindu South Asians who converted to Islam and whose descendents left the Hindu state to found Pakistan not traitors, whereas the people of ET are? Both groups joined the religion of their rulers that was different from the majority. Both joined religions that were newer arrivals in their respective lands than the religions to which they originally belonged. Saying that the Dutch and the Spanish "had no place in Asia" doesn't seem to provide a satisfactory answer, since the same could be said about the Moghuls (who were Mongol descendents) on the Subcontinent. Nor does your claim that, "There are Hindus in Pakistan and Muslim in India, you idiot!" answer me either, since there are Catholics in Indonesia and Muslims in ET.

  5. Hudd D'Alhamd from Canada

    Nicky boy, you don't like peace, do you. First decide yourself where you post. I gave you an answer for "I am against it" before finding you on the "I am indifferant". You pissed me off. You know that. You want to be on top of things, you can't. It is understandable. The place you come from? The most despicable spineless people in the world. You lack originality, you are the copy of a copy. The Philipines is not only another prostitute country to the US and Israel, but they are the slaves of the world. Not by force, as it was done to the African blacks, but due to a congenital servilitude to the strongest and a need to subject yourselves, since you are just shadows of civilization. What is your culture? You would be Asian, but then you are Christian like your used to be masters, the Spanish. You are what you eat and since dog meat is one of your delicatessen, you are dogs. Makes sense? Traitors? Oh, yeah, big time, just let me explain and you will be enlightened. When a religion is established, its first adherents set the tune. In Islaam, the sahabah, or the companions and the Rashideen. They all wanted to die martyrs in the service of Islaam and the prophet,pbuh. According to your scriptures, Jesus,pbuh, was betrayed by his disciples and denied 3 times by his best friend, Peter! Now, take a deep breath and have an impartial logical judgement. What is this if not treason? So the Christians proved themselves at the foundation of the religion as traitors! You dig? Therefore, Christians as de facto are by nature, traitors to their religion and prophet,pbuh. They are commited to one another and their mutual plundering greed. Now, I wasn't mistaken calling the ET traitors, was I? Not in my books. Secondly, I called them also dogs. Again I was perfectly right. The ET eat dog. You are what you eat, dog! You see my idea about the ET did not change with your mental defecation that you weren't ashmed to display. However the point of the article was not the one debated.

  6. Nick Cameron from United States of America

    Actually Hudd, I don't think we have to be at a "dead end". Just answer one thing for me.

    You said that the Nigerians who converted to Christianity from Islam would be "traitors" if they wanted to split from the Muslim half of the country. So under your definition, why wouldn't the Muslims of South Asia also not be "traitors" for splitting from India to make Pakistan?

    You seem like a smart young man, so I'm sure you have a reasonable distinction in mind.

    Peace out!

  7. Hudd D'Alhamd from Canada

    Nick Cameron, thank you for the enlightment. I consider it true as long as it's not proven otherwise. And having said that I retract my former specification of the ET with an apology.

    Jain is one Hindi religion having as symbol the swastika. Supposedly Hitler took the symbol from them. Like Hitler the Jain are vegies?(vegetarians that wouldn't eat any animal by-product such as milk, butter or eggs). Now comes the difference. Hitler had respect for all form of life, except human. The Jain have respect toward every kind of life, including human. They wear a mask in order not to swallow inadvertantly a gnat or a mosquito. They sweep the ground before every step they take, not somehow to step and thus kill an ant or spider. They would rather be hurt than hurt. I think you got the picture.

    I will not comment on the rest, it seems that we reached a dead end there. You either see the point I made, but don't want to recognize it, or you really think you are right and doing what is commendable. You know what I mean, an argument is as good as it has its firing power.

    Peace out!

  8. Nick Cameron from United States of America

    One other thing, Hudd. Just as many Nigerians used to be Muslims before Christianization, the Kashmiris used to be Hindus before Islamization by the Moghuls. And as you know, the Muslim Kashmiris want to split from India. If we adhere to the single standard that you've provided us, then we'd be in agreement with the Hindu Nationalists that Kashmiri Muslims are "traitor dogs".

    Is this your contention?

  9. Akbar Khan from Canada

    Great points showing your solid understanding of real world geography of the world's political landscape in regards to those current nations being discussed, and those which are in the Americas and how it would be a similar situation.

    Let's also remind everyone here that under the Ottoman Khilafate, you could WALK on foot or by caravan or whatever form of group travel you wish to conduct, and literally travel from the Sindh region in Southern Asia, to the North of Afghanistan up into current Russian speaking regions, then go a little South and travel through Isfahan and Khurasaan, through to Iraq, all around Al-Sham, throughout the Arabian deserts, across to Abbyssinia, to Egypt to Morocco to South Africa and find people who remind you of Rasool-Allah (saaw), and not have the fear of travelling as we do today in which we fly in "security", drive in "security" and make sure you don't give money the "wrong" country (Palestine), worried about being a labeled as "someone who finances terrorism." This is Allah's world, his lands...it's quite disturbing that certain places in the world are dangerous for Muslims to be living in...we can't even travel between the nations of our brothers and sisters anymore by the politics of the powerful.

    Jazak-Allah Khairun for sharing your understanding of the world's historical geopolitics 🙂

  10. Nick Cameron from United States of America

    Hudd D'Alhamd (cont.):

    The power was in the hands of the anti-slavers, so the slave States decided to form their own country. Fortunately, the right people won that war and the country remained unified and slave-free. And this unity that was forged in the fires of that war made this country a truly united one in which no one would want to break off ever again.

    What if Arizona wanted to break off, what would I think? Well, my answer is going to depend on their reasons. The most likely reason I could think of today is if my country ended its democracy and became a tyranny. In that case, I would actually favor Arizonans joining Californians in overthrowing the government. But if that's not possible, better to be an independent democracy rather than a unified tyranny. But this is very speculative, so I'm not sure what the real answer would be.

    Regarding your allegation that I "attack Muslims", I don't think that's true in the case of all Muslims. Of course, I would attack certain Muslims like UBL or Yassin (if he were still alive) ever showed his face here, then I'd probably be as hostile as I would be against a Klansman. I don't have a double standard when it comes to extremists, and in fact I'd even be a bit more "enthusiastic" if the extremist is American. So if America's extremists make this country a "glass house", then I say throw, throw, throw until all the glass shatters!

    BTW, what's a "Jain"?

  11. Nick Cameron from United States of America

    Hudd D'Alhamd:

    Hey no biggie. 😉

    Indonesia is not really a single ethnicity, race, nor culture. I remember before spent time there, I used to believe that America was a "multicultural" society. Afterwards though, I realized that is not really true. While you do have people coming here from all over the world, the culture here has a way of assimilating those people, making us fairly homogenous culturally. Take myself as an example; I was born in the Philippines but culturally I'm more American than anything else.

    Indonesia, on the other hand, is what I consider a truly multicultural society. People actually differ in their ways of acting according to which island they were born on, and in the case of the bigger islands which part they came from. And because Indonesia is an archipelago, different races and ethicities developed over a period of several millenia. Racially, the vast majority are Malay, with several ethic groups belonging. And most of the Malays are Muslim. On the other hand, Melanesians (think relative to aborigines and polynesians) tend to be Christian. East Timorese, for example are Catholic.

    But what Makes ET different from the rest of Indonesia is that the other parts all used to be part of the Dutch East Indies, while ET had always been under the Portugese. That changed in the 70s when the tyrant Suharto annexed ET and added it to his country. Portugal never recognized the annexation, and the majority people of ET never really considered themselves to be legitimately part of Indonesia, and the dissidents were brutally repressed.

    It took a long time, but in the late 90s the ET saw their chance to leave Indonesia because of its diplomatically and economically weakened state. But the Indonesians wouldn't let them leave quily despite their agreement to let the province hold a plebescite, and the province had to endure a bloody crackdown by pro-Jakarta militias before the U.N., the United States, and Australia

  12. Hudd D'Alhamd from Canada

    Nick. Wow! A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. I admit I might have overreacted on the East Timorese. I do not know politically too much about those places and I made an assuption based on the pattern Western powers operate. Allow me to elaborate. The Ottoman Empire was one country. It was split in several Arabic speaking countries. In my view, shared with others, it should have stayed one country. Kuwait is Iraq's 16th province. The British found petroleum there and initiated a struggle for independance. Independance from whom? The same people even members of the same tribe live in Kuwait and Iraq as well, same religion. The example of Nigeria. Missionaries went with funds from the West and targeted the poorest and the less informed for conversion by buying them into it. From 80% Muslims, Nigeria reached 50%! However, they are one country. If they wanna split, the Christians then they would be traitors, as for now they are but the dogs the West made them to be. Catch my drift? Now back to my comment about E-Timorese, educate me on this if you can be for once impartial. Isn't Timor an island of Indonesia? What's the ethnic and cultural difference between Indonesian, Timorese and E-Timorese? We have a separation problem in Canada, the Quebecans. If they do that, I would call them traitors. If they packed with the enemies of Canada I would call them dogs. In my books, Christianity is not an indigenious religion of far East-South Asia. Buddhism aside Islaam or Shinto or whatever from that part of the world. Consider this, all the states of the US are American, what if Arizona would say, we are Muslims and want independence? This is how I see E-Timor. About your second comment on double standards and not attacking Muslims, I disagree, you do attack Muslims and try to put us in a very unfavourable light. I feel insulted and since I am not a Jain, I bite back harder and nastier, is the American way, isn't it?;) I'd remind you: If you live in a house of glass...=^..^=

  13. S. Hassan from USA

    Salaam to all,

    This is a very interesting article because, as some of you have pointed out, this is indeed a situation we hear very little about, comparatively. It is difficult, as always, to know the story wholly, but these people--Muslim or nonMuslim, white or dark--deserve our attention. Indeed, as Muslims it is our duty when we see injustice to change it with our hands, and if we cannot do that to cahnge it with our voices, and if not even that we must hate it in our hearts, and that is the lowest level of faith. Inshallah may we have the ability to do something! Peace; and BTW brothers and friends, there are already too many people chopping each others' heads off, so doing it here among ourselves will certainly not help :). The greatest strength of a Muslim is his steadfast and beutifully moral character.

    Invite (all) to the Way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful exhortation; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious: for thy Lord knoweth best, who have strayed from His Path, and who receive guidance. (Quran 16:125)

  14. Nick Cameron from United States of America

    Corrections about East Timor:

    The estimated death toll over the course of 25 years of Jakarta's brutal policies was well over 200,000. While there has never been a single case of a Timorese terrorist killing Indonesians outside of ET, there have been allegations of human rights abuses committed by a Timorese resistance group during the years of occupation.

    Nonetheless, my comments about the Muslim world's double standard still stand. After all, where was the outpouring of sympathy for the Bengalis after Pakistan's atrocities of the 70s?

  15. Nick Cameron from United States of America

    Peace Hudd D'Alhamd! (As in, "Calm down, lol!")

    "East Timorese traitor dogs of Indonesia"...is this some kind of joke? If so then it's really not funny. In a single year, Suharto killed 600,000 East Timorese because they refused to recognize Indonesia's annexation of their territory, which had never previously been considered part of Indonesia. Thank God, at least today even Indonesia recognizes this fact, though only after decades of brutal repression and only after the collapse of Suharto's tyranny. And the East Timorese endured it all without resorting to a single act of terrorism. This is exactly why it's difficult for me to hear the claims of moral outrage of a Muslim world for Palestinians because it was mostly silent when it was Muslims who were killing non-Muslims and annexing their lands. (And Indonesia didn't "give" the Timorese independence. In truth, they could no longer hold on to it in the face of overwhelming diplomatic pressure.)

    Do I "attack" Muslims as a whole in my comments? I don't think so. Do I criticize double standards such as these that are rampant throughout the Muslim world? Absolutely, just as I criticize some supposedly moderate Muslims here who remain silent whenever one of their brethren makes a bigotted statement. I don't claim to understand why that's so difficult, especially since I wouldn't hesitate to speak up if a Klansman came here and started ranting on Muslims. But then, I'm not like you

    You're absolutely right when you say that Islam and Muslims should be considered different. One is a good concept, whereas the other, as you so succinctly put it, are prone to mistakes. Here's a link for you, though you might not be prepared for what it has to say:

    http://thisisislam.islamacademy.com/

    It's the reason why I feel absolutely no guilt about criticizing your brethren who act unconscionably.

  16. Nick Cameron from United States of America

    While a discussion of the ethnic origins of the Israelis is fascinating, I don't believe this explains the apparent hypocrisy of the Kremlin. I think a better explanation is that just like any other nation-state, Russia will use whatever rhetoric on the world stage that it believe will promote its interests. Why it's in Russia's interests to react unfavorably towards Israel? There may be internal political reasons for this, since Russia has a significant Muslim (and most likely Israel-unfriendly) minority.

  17. Hudd D'Alhamd from Canada

    NC, you don't want to snap out of your hypocritical stand?! Do you want me to enumerate the atrocities fo so called Christian fundamentalists did to Muslims and other people that they disaggreed with? Are you out of focus, or what's wrong with you again? You seemed like getting to your senses, now you are losing it again? What kind of a stupid comment was that about the East Timorese traitor dogs of Indonesia, huh Nicky church rat? You attack too often the Muslims in almost all your postings. Know that, you stupid Christian boy, whenever you generalize, "the MUslims did this, the Muslims believe this, the Muslims do this!" You refer to me and every Muslim on this website. Did I or any Muslim on this website bring down your ugly stupid twin towers? Did I or any Muslim on this website declare war on your idiotic adoptive "democracy"? You made your point, you love Bush, you are so much in one another that one couldn't say where you ended and where he began! You love your government, good for you, take the eagle and shove it up your behind, it'll scream louder! But do not hurd the Muslim together like we were some cattle on your moronic president's farm! Have respect for those that think differently and are not mentally impaired Christians like yourself, punk! Make the difference, when you say, "Islaam" talk with piety! When you refer to "Muslims", be specific, otherwise you will have them all attack you and earn yourself more insult than you bargained for, OK sucker? Behave and remember 2 principles: 1) Islaam and Muslims are not the same thing. The former is faltless the second is human and thus prone to mistakes. 2)You cannot overextend the actions of some Muslims or groups/parties over the whole of the Ummah! Are you nuts? What's wrong with you? You graetly disappoint me, NC., the East Timorese did not blow up Muslims in Jakarta simply because they did not need to, idiot! Indonesia granted them independence, didn't they? Did heineous Israel do that, you scumbag,huh?

  18. Benjamin from USA

    The crimes and human rights abuses against the Muslims in Chechnya and Russia in general through history are clearly worse than anything that has happened in Palestine. So why is there no Muslim anger or protest towards Russia as there is towards the US and Israel? Where are the Muslim organizations? Where are the protesters? Why is it that Muslims don't seem to get angry when non-Arab Muslims like Blacks in Darfur (western Sudan), Chechens and Indians are being killed and oppressed?

  19. Hudd D'Alhamd from Canada

    This article brought back to me the memory of my maternal grandparents. They brought me up, instead of my parents who were martyred before I reached the age of one. Both my maternal grandparents suffered under Stalin and they were not shy to share with me the horrifying ordeal and human calvary they passed through. Both my maternal granfather and grandmother had similar fate and that very fate brought them together in Kazakhstan in the '40 and there they met and married. My grandfather was a Crimean Tatar, born in Sevastopol. My grandmother a Hanseatic German born in East Prussia in the city of Koenigsberg, today, Kaliningrad. Similarly, although geographically quite apart, they were subjected to the same inhumane fate of evacuation from Europe and brought to Kazakhstan in boxcars that they were sealed at loading with a calculated amount of food and water to last untill the first stop in the long journey through the wilderness of the steppe, where they were to be given another load through a lockable whole. My grandmother's mother died soon after they were embarked and the Russians did not allow them to dispose of the body on route. My grandmother, a young girl at that time, whose father was hanged by the Russians in the streets of Koenigsberg and left to rot in the sight of his people(he was a judge) as an example, now she had to see her dead mother decompose before her eyes. They were using wholes in the wooden floor of the boxcar for toilets, without any privacy. Many others deceased on the long journey from Eastern Europe to Central Asia. The population of Kazakhstan was Muslim and great Russian allies. They were "educated" by the Bolshevics, that eather the Hanseatic Germans were allies to the Nazis(an unscrupulous lie) and that the Crimean Tatars were a horde of barbarians and feroucious killers and rapists. When they arrived, either of them on their time in Alma-Ata, today, Almaty, they were encountered by the indigenious population with pitchforks an axes.

  20. Ousmane Al Fulani from Senegal

    I feel sorry for the Ummah of Muhammad, and certainly for this new generation of whinners. It is time for muslims to understand that the solution of our predicament does not lie in the hand of the 'un-civilized' and 'barbaric' west, but in our resolve and desire to change our destiny "Al kufr millatoun wahidat". Hegira is still a solution for all the muslims. Let us go back to our countries and change the conditions of our nations. Let us stop whinning and work towards restoring the greatness of our people. Or at least fight back.

    Ousmane Diallo

  21. Dr. Hamada from USA

    May god protect the muslims from the attacks, and may they protect one another from themselves.

  22. Abd al Malik from Ichkeria

    A correction: OBL was one of the leaders, in the people's response to this question. About 70% were for Independent Chechnya!

  23. Abd al Malik from Ichkeria

    In response to Yusuf. I dont know what kind of muslims u r talking about, but out of those who visit Juma in Moscow something like 70% wrote that they would like OBL to be their leader, a few month before 9/11, if I remember correctly, when a questionair was conducted in all mosques over a few weeks. It was conducted and later published in the biggest muslim newspaper!

    If Russians were oppressed, then muslims and other minorities were and are oppressed much more on top of that, for being muslim and not russian. Whereas russians are used to being oppressed, for almost all of them were slaves 150 years ago, muslims are used to freedom, which is guaranteed by Islam.

  24. Akbar Khan from Canada

    Someone asks...why Russia is so hard on Israel all the while implementing its particular methods against Chechnya?

    If you refer to Ahmed Thompson's book, published in 1994, called "The Next World Order," you will find a section discussing Yajuj Ma'juj (biblical Gog and Magog). Ahmed Thompson demonstrates in his book, that the people of Russia originate from one of the sons of Prophet Nuh (Noah) alaihi-salaam, they originate from Japheth son of Noah.

    My next point is concerning a letter written by the treasurer of Khalifa Abdar-Rahman III (912-961 A.D.), this letter was written TO King Joseph, the King of the Jewish Khazar Kingdom between the Black Sea and Caspian Sea. Abdur-Rahman III asked King Joseph if the Khazar Jews had any connection to the 10 lost tribes of Israel (Israelites, not the 2 tribes who became Judahites). King Joseph responded by stating that there was no such connection whatsoever. Arthur Koestler wrote a book called "The Thirteenth Tribe" in which he finds the geneology (ancestry of King Joseph), and concludes that the Khazar Kingdom has absolutely no SEMITIC descent! He also traced their ancestry to Togarma son of Japheth son of Noah (as). Togarms is the ancestor of all Turkish tribes, and proves that Khazar Jews or Ashkenazi jews are not Semitic people, but also according to Genesis 10:2-3, are MAGOG.

    Ashkenaz derives from the name of one of the sons of Gomer son of Japheth son of Noah.

    Sephardic Jews had reached all the way to Al-Andulus (Spain) and there was little or no found written communication between Khazar Jews around Russia and Sephardic Jews in Spain- b/c Khazar Jews in the East were viewed with as very devious by Sephardic jews in the West.

    The wall of Darband was a wall between two mountains somewhere between the region of the Black Sea and Caspian Sea, it was composed of Iron, Copper, and Tar but no longer exists.

    They will spread corruption on the Earth and harm people. to be continued

    <

  25. Yusuf from USA

    in response to that last comment about Putin being invited to OIC, Putin is actually favored by most Russian Muslims, according to an article on Islamonline....and its logical to invite Putin seeing as Russia has millions of Muslims, far more than Western Europe

  26. Mat from Malaysia

    One thing that Muslim lacks of is media power. If we started making noise, such abuses will not go unnoticed. Any abuses must be reported through Muslim medias everywhere in the world, so people in Falkland island will know Russia is not a Muslim-friendly country. I noticed Muslim become easy target by Europeans recently, so start making noise brothers!

    p/s; Mahathir must be very naive, invited Putin in last OIC meeting.

  27. Yusuf from USA

    Good article, however its sensless to point out crimes against Muslims in a society where everyone is oppressed. Indeed their are hate crimes, but in the overall scheme of history in the region its pretty safe to say everyones a victim. 20 million pple died under Stalin, most of them wernt Muslim.

  28. Kashif Shaikh from Canada

    Salams,

    Well presented and written article.

    I can only pray that inside Russia tolerance towards Muslims started being shown in range that the Tatars showed to Christians/Russ tribe for about 200 years when Musilms adminstered Moscow(paid Tribute).

    Please note that per Taliban ousting procedures the Russians quickly supplied northen alliance with $ 4 Billion of military hardware. Quicker than US they were. North Afganistan ( about 50% country ) they are embedded.US much less than 50% South, with Taliban biding their time for more favorable conditions to regain power.

    Wassalam.

  29. Abd al Malik from Ichkeria

    Assalamu Aleykum

    Nice to see an article, which depicts some of the things experienced by Muslims around the world, in the hands of "civilised" nations and their allies. Up to 100 000 people were killed in 1994-96 war. Up to 150 000 were killed in the ongoing war, and almost all of these were civilians. Not to mention the wiping out of whole cities and villages. Now since Putin was re-elected by this mostly sick Russian public, the terror on behalf of FSB(KGB) is getting even worse. And has the West named this as terror? Why when muslims are terrorised and murdered by hundreds of thousands it is anything but terrorism, but when desperate muslims fight back, its called terrorism?

    To make the fools thinks that he is OK with muslims Putin now even appointed a KGB "muslim" tatar as an interior minister. Since his appointment police and FSB started to take away everyone after Juma prayers from Moscow's mosques, which was not done before that new minister. Even Russian converts are taken to police stations were they take fingerprints, and intimidate muslims to work for them. The self-appointed (and FSB approved) so-called Mufties of Russia make little or no noise, but are very loud in other times.

    However, Allah (SWT) does not leave His righteous slaves without help, and hope. AlhamduliLlah, what started as a simple secular independence movement, is now following the Quaran and Sunnah, and doesn't even think of giving up, but insha Allah, counts on either one of the two great rewards!!

  30. Nick Cameron from United States of America

    The plight of the Chechens as described in this article reminds me a great deal about the situation that the East Timorese went through in Indonesia. Of course, the East Timorese never sent death squads into Jakarta to slaughter Javanese Muslims.

    The U.S. would have been much more sympathetic to the Chechens had terrorism not been a tool of "liberation". They may not have brought Russian repression upon themselves, but the West will probably not act on their behalf as America did for the Bosnians in the 90s.

    One thing bothers me though...why are the Russians so hard on the Israelis when clearly thei'r policy against the Chechens is worse?