» 10/16/2014, 00.00
UKRAINE - RUSSIA
Ultimatum to Crimea’s Muslims: Three months to hand over banned Islamic texts
The pro-Moscow president suspends police searches in Muslim homes and gives a December deadline for compliance with Russian law: "Some religious texts are prohibited." Meanwhile, the Tatars denounce the campaign. Since annexation to Russia at least 18 members of the community have "disappeared".
Moscow (AsiaNews) - The authorities of Crimea (now Russian) have given Muslims three months to
voluntarily surrender the literature on Islam,
authorized under Ukraine but outlawed by
the Russian Federation.
"We call on Muslims in possession of this material to deliver it to the religious authorities
over the next three months,"
said the president of the Crimea, Sergei Aksenov,
as reported by Interfax. Until the end of December the police will not confiscate
literature", but on the first of
January, "everything must be in compliance
with Russian norms". He guaranteed that the list of banned books will be published in the press and there will be an awareness raising campaign
among the local population.
Since September, several members of the Muslim community in different areas of the
peninsula on the Black Sea have reported police raids in their homes in the hunt for "forbidden literature." The same
reason was given by the authorities of
Simferopol in September to justify
their raid and then closure of the office of
the Majlis, the 'representative body of Crimean Tatars.
This Muslim community represents 12% of the local population and from the beginning has strongly opposed
to the annexation of the Crimea to Russia,
confirmed after a controversial referendum. Aksenov has
promised to suspend the raids and granted a 'transition' period to
comply with Russian laws.
But the Crimean Tatars,
who were victims of Stalinist deportations, are on their guard.
In recent months, their representatives have
denounced a real campaign of
persecution, made up not only of raids and intimidation,
but also of
kidnapping and physical assaults.
October a 25 year-old Tatar who had disappeared under mysterious circumstances on September 29
was found dead in an abandoned sanatorium in
Evpatoria. One of the historical leaders of the Crimean Tatars,
the former head of the Majlis Mustafa Zhemilev, denounced in front of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg,
the disappearance of 18 Tatars "since the
peninsula was united
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