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This site is the inspiration of a former reporter/photographer for one of New England's largest daily newspapers and for various magazines. The intent is to direct readers to interesting political articles, and we urge you to visit the source sites. Any comments may be noted on site or directed to KarisChaf at gmail.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Muslim Russia? -- By Daniel Pipes, The Washington Times

Illustration by Alexander Hunter for The Washington Times (Illustration by Alexander Hunter, The Washington Times)

The stabbing death on Oct. 10 of an ethnic Russian, Yegor Shcherbakov, 25, apparently by a Muslim from Azerbaijan, led to anti-migrant disturbances in Moscow, vandalism and assaults, and the arrest of 1,200, and brought a major tension in Russian life to the fore.

Not only do ethnic Muslims account for 21 million to 23 million of Russia's total population of 144 million, or 15 percent, but their proportion is fast-growing. Alcoholism-plagued ethnic Russians are said to have European birthrates and African death rates. Their women have on average 1.4 children, and their men have a life expectancy of 60 years. In Moscow, ethnic Christian women have 1.1 child.

In contrast, Muslim women bear 2.3 children on average and have fewer abortions than their Russian counterparts. In Moscow, Tatar women have six children and Chechen and Ingush women have 10. In addition, some 3 million to 4 million Muslims have moved to Russia from ex-republics of the Soviet Union, mainly from Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan; and some ethnic Russians are converting to Islam.

These trends point to Christians declining in numbers by 0.6 percent a year and Muslims increasing by that same amount, which will have dramatic effects over time. Some analysts foresee Muslims becoming a majority in the 21st century — a demographic revolution that would fundamentally change the country's character. Paul Goble, an expert on Russian minorities, concludes that "Russia is going through a religious transformation that will be of even greater consequence for the international community than the collapse of the Soviet Union." A Russian commentator he quotes envisions a mosque on Red Square in Moscow. The facile assumption that Moscow is and will remain Western-oriented "is no longer valid," he argues. In particular, he predicts that the Muslim demographic surge "will have a profound impact on Russian foreign policy."

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