Northernmost Islam: “Islamic factor” in Eastern Siberia

Natalia P. Koptseva, Vladimir I. Kirko


The article dwells on the growing Islamic factor in Eastern Siberia, namely in Krasnoyarsk Krai. Neither area has ever been a Muslim territory, and Muslims still make up a minority in these regions. Starting from the 1970’s–1980’s, the number of Muslims living in Eastern Siberia has been growing, and so has their influence on the processes occurring in the Eastern Siberian economy, politics, and culture. There isn’t a single Muslim ummah in Krasnoyarsk Krai. The Muslim groups living there differ by ethnic origin. The main reason behind the increase in the Muslim population in Krasnoyarsk Krai is active labor migration from ex-Soviet countries in Central Asia and the South Caucasus. As the number of labor migrants continues to grow, it may trigger Islamophobia and increase migrant-phobia and xenophobia in the area. On the other hand, as their population grows, Eastern Siberian Muslims are likely to develop their own set of political interests which they will want to see catered to. One way or another, unless there is special political management in place taking these issues into account, the chances of ethnic and religious tensions in society will only keep growing. Another worrying thing is that radical Islamists also infiltrate Eastern Siberia as part of labor migration. Modern-day Muslim communities are gradually changing the social, demographic, and cultural face of urban communities in Eastern Siberia.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2016.v7n1s1p194

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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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