Saturday, September 6, 2008

The Truth about Islamic Crusades and Imperialism

The Truth about Islamic Crusades and Imperialism

By James Arlandson

Historical facts say that Islam has been imperialistic—and would still like to be, if only for religious reasons. Many Muslim clerics, scholars, and activists, for example, would like to impose Islamic law around the world. Historical facts say that Islam, including Muhammad, launched their own Crusades against Christianity long before the European Crusades.

Today, Muslim polemicists and missionaries, who believe that Islam is the best religion in the world, claim that the West has stolen Islamic lands and that the West (alone) is imperialistic.One hardline Muslim emailer to me said about the developed West and the undeveloped Islamic countries: 'You stole our lands' and then he held his finger on the exclamation key to produce a long string of them.

Thus imperialism, a word that has reached metaphysical levels and that is supposed to stop all debates and answer all questions, explains why Islamic countries have not kept up with the West. The emailer did not look inwardly, as if his own culture and religion may play a role. Instead, it is always the West's fault.

Westerners—even academics—accept the notion that the West alone was aggressive. It seems that Islam is always innocent and passive. It is difficult to uncover the source of this Western self—loathing. It is, however, a pathology that seems to strike Westerners more than other people around the globe. This anti—West pathology shows up in Westerners' hatred for the European Crusades in the Medieval Age.

It must be admitted that there is much to dislike about the European Crusades. If they are contrasted with the mission and ministry of Jesus and the first generations of Christians, then the Crusades do not look so good. But did the Europeans launch the first Crusade in a mindless, bloodthirsty and irrational way, or were there more pressing reasons? Were they the only ones to be militant?

The purpose of this article is not to justify or defend European Crusades, but to explain them, in part—though scholarship can go a long way to defend and justify them

In this article, the word 'crusade' (derived from the Latin word for 'cross') in an Islamic context means a holy war or jihad. It is used as a counterweight to the Muslim accusation that only the Europeans launched crusades. Muslims seem to forget that they had their own, for several centuries before the Europeans launched theirs as a defense against the Islamic expansion.

We will employ a partial timeline spanning up to the first European response to Islamic imperialism, when Pope Urban II launched his own Crusade in 1095. The timeline mostly stays within the parameters of the Greater Middle East. The data in bold print are of special interest for revealing early Islamic atrocities, their belief in heroism in warfare, or politics today.

The Islamic Crusades were very successful. The Byzantines and Persian Empires had worn themselves out with fighting, so a power vacuum existed. Into this vacuum stormed Islam.

After the timeline, two questions are posed, which are answered at length

The Timeline

630 Two years before Muhammad's death of a fever, he launches the Tabuk Crusades, in which he led 30,000 jihadists against the Byzantine Christians. He had heard a report that a huge army had amassed to attack Arabia, but the report turned out to be a false rumor. The Byzantine army never materialized. He turned around and went home, but not before extracting 'agreements' from northern tribes. They could enjoy the 'privilege' of living under Islamic 'protection' (read: not be attacked by Islam), if they paid a tax (jizya).

This tax sets the stage for Muhammad's and the later Caliphs' policies. If the attacked city or region did not want to convert to Islam, then they paid a jizya tax. If they converted, then they paid a zakat tax. Either way, money flowed back to the Islamic treasury in Arabia or to the local Muslim governor.

632—634 Under the Caliphate of Abu Bakr the Muslim Crusaders reconquer and sometimes conquer for the first time the polytheists of Arabia. These Arab polytheists had to convert to Islam or die. They did not have the choice of remaining in their faith and paying a tax. Islam does not allow for religious freedom.

633 The Muslim Crusaders, led by Khalid al—Walid, a superior but bloodthirsty military commander, whom Muhammad nicknamed the Sword of Allah for his ferocity in battle (Tabari, 8:158 / 1616—17), conquer the city of Ullays along the Euphrates River (in today's Iraq). Khalid captures and beheads so many that a nearby canal, into which the blood flowed, was called Blood Canal (Tabari 11:24 / 2034—35).

634 At the Battle of Yarmuk in Syria the Muslim Crusaders defeat the Byzantines. Today Osama bin Laden draws inspiration from the defeat, and especially from an anecdote about Khalid al—Walid. An unnamed Muslim remarks: 'The Romans are so numerous and the Muslims so few.' To this Khalid retorts: 'How few are the Romans, and how many the Muslims! Armies become numerous only with victory and few only with defeat, not by the number of men. By God, I would love it . . . if the enemy were twice as many' (Tabari, 11:94 / 2095). Osama bin Ladin quotes Khalid and says that his fighters love death more than we in the West love life. This philosophy of death probably comes from a verse like Sura 2:96. Muhammad assesses the Jews: '[Prophet], you are sure to find them [the Jews] clinging to life more eagerly than any other people, even polytheists' (MAS Abdel Haleem, The Qur'an, Oxford UP, 2004; first insertion in brackets is Haleem's; the second mine).

634—644 The Caliphate of Umar ibn al—Khattab, who is regarded as particularly brutal.

635 Muslim Crusaders besiege and conquer of Damascus

636 Muslim Crusaders defeat Byzantines decisively at Battle of Yarmuk.

637 Muslim Crusaders conquer Iraq at the Battle of al—Qadisiyyah (some date it in 635 or 636)

638 Muslim Crusaders conquer and annex Jerusalem, taking it from the Byzantines.

638—650 Muslim Crusaders conquer Iran, except along Caspian Sea.

639—642 Muslim Crusaders conquer Egypt.

641 Muslim Crusaders control Syria and Palestine.

643—707 Muslim Crusaders conquer North Africa.

644 Caliph Umar is assassinated by a Persian prisoner of war; Uthman ibn Affan is elected third Caliph, who is regarded by many Muslims as gentler than Umar.

644—650 Muslim Crusaders conquer Cyprus, Tripoli in North Africa, and establish Islamic rule in Iran, Afghanistan, and Sind.

656 Caliph Uthman is assassinated by disgruntled Muslim soldiers; Ali ibn Abi Talib, son—in—law and cousin to Muhammad, who married the prophet's daughter Fatima through his first wife Khadija, is set up as Caliph.

656 Battle of the Camel, in which Aisha, Muhammad's wife, leads a rebellion against Ali for not avenging Uthman's assassination. Ali's partisans win.

657 Battle of Siffin between Ali and Muslim governor of Jerusalem, arbitration goes against Ali

661 Murder of Ali by an extremist; Ali's supporters acclaim his son Hasan as next Caliph, but he comes to an agreement with Muawiyyah I and retires to Medina.

661—680 the Caliphate of Muawiyyah I. He founds Umayyid dynasty and moves capital from Medina to Damascus

673—678 Arabs besiege Constantinople, capital of Byzantine Empire

680 Massacre of Hussein (Muhammad's grandson), his family, and his supporters in Karbala, Iraq.

691 Dome of the Rock is completed in Jerusalem, only six decades after Muhammad's death.

705 Abd al—Malik restores Umayyad rule.

710—713 Muslim Crusaders conquer the lower Indus Valley.

711—713 Muslim Crusaders conquer Spain and impose the kingdom of Andalus. This article recounts how Muslims today still grieve over their expulsion 700 years later. They seem to believe that the land belonged to them in the first place.

719 Cordova, Spain, becomes seat of Arab governor

732 The Muslim Crusaders stopped at the Battle of Poitiers; that is, Franks (France) halt Arab advance

749 The Abbasids conquer Kufah and overthrow Umayyids

756 Foundation of Umayyid amirate in Cordova, Spain, setting up an independent kingdom from Abbasids

762 Foundation of Baghdad

785 Foundation of the Great Mosque of Cordova

789 Rise of Idrisid amirs (Muslim Crusaders) in Morocco; foundation of Fez; Christoforos, a Muslim who converted to Christianity, is executed.

800 Autonomous Aghlabid dynasty (Muslim Crusaders) in Tunisia

807 Caliph Harun al—Rashid orders the destruction of non—Muslim prayer houses and of the church of Mary Magdalene in Jerusalem

809 Aghlabids (Muslim Crusaders) conquer Sardinia, Italy

813 Christians in Palestine are attacked; many flee the country

831 Muslim Crusaders capture Palermo, Italy; raids in Southern Italy

850 Caliph al—Matawakkil orders the destruction of non—Muslim houses of prayer

855 Revolt of the Christians of Hims (Syria)

837—901 Aghlabids (Muslim Crusaders) conquer Sicily, raid Corsica, Italy, France

869—883 Revolt of black slaves in Iraq

909 Rise of the Fatimid Caliphate in Tunisia; these Muslim Crusaders occupy Sicily, Sardinia

928—969 Byzantine military revival, they retake old territories, such as Cyprus (964) and Tarsus (969)

937 The Ikhshid, a particularly harsh Muslim ruler, writes to Emperor Romanus, boasting of his control over the holy places

937 The Church of the Resurrection (known as Church of Holy Sepulcher in Latin West) is burned down by Muslims; more churches in Jerusalem are attacked

960 Conversion of Qarakhanid Turks to Islam

966 Anti—Christian riots in Jerusalem

969 Fatimids (Muslim Crusaders) conquer Egypt and found Cairo

c. 970 Seljuks enter conquered Islamic territories from the East

973 Israel and southern Syria are again conquered by the Fatimids

1003 First persecutions by al—Hakim; the Church of St. Mark in Fustat, Egypt, is destroyed

1009 Destruction of the Church of the Resurrection by al—Hakim (see 937)

1012 Beginning of al—Hakim's oppressive decrees against Jews and Christians

1015 Earthquake in Palestine; the dome of the Dome of the Rock collapses

1031 Collapse of Umayyid Caliphate and establishment of 15 minor independent dynasties throughout Muslim Andalus

1048 Reconstruction of the Church of the Resurrection completed

1050 Creation of Almoravid (Muslim Crusaders) movement in Mauretania; Almoravids (aka Murabitun) are coalition of western Saharan Berbers; followers of Islam, focusing on the Quran, the hadith, and Maliki law.

1055 Seljuk Prince Tughrul enters Baghdad, consolidation of the Seljuk Sultanate

1055 Confiscation of property of Church of the Resurrection

1071 Battle of Manzikert, Seljuk Turks (Muslim Crusaders) defeat Byzantines and occupy much of Anatolia

1071 Turks (Muslim Crusaders) invade Palestine

1073 Conquest of Jerusalem by Turks (Muslim Crusaders)

1075 Seljuks (Muslim Crusaders) capture Nicea (Iznik) and make it their capital in Anatolia

1076 Almoravids (Muslim Crusaders) (see 1050) conquer western Ghana

1085 Toledo is taken back by Christian armies

1086 Almoravids (Muslim Crusaders) (see 1050) send help to Andalus, Battle of Zallaca

1090—1091 Almoravids (Muslim Crusaders) occupy all of Andalus except Saragossa and Balearic Islands

1094 Byzantine emperor Alexius Comnenus I asks western Christendom for help against Seljuk invasions of his territory; Seljuks are Muslim Turkish family of eastern origins; see 970

1095 Pope Urban II preaches first Crusade; they capture Jerusalem in 1099

So it is only after all of the Islamic aggressive invasions that Western Christendom launches its first Crusades.

It could be argued that sometimes the Byzantine and Western European leaders did not behave exemplarily, so a timeline on that subject could be developed. And sometimes the Muslims behaved exemplarily. Both are true. However, the goal of this timeline is to balance out the picture more clearly. Many people regard Islam as an innocent victim, and the Byzantines and Europeans as bullies. This was not always the case.

Moreover, we should take a step back and look at the big picture. If Islam had stayed in Arabia and had not waged wars of conquest, then no troubles would have erupted. But the truth is this: Islam moved aggressively during the Caliphates of Abu Bakr and Umar in the seventh century, with other Caliphs continuing well beyond that; only then did the Western Europeans react (see 1094).

It must be noted that Islamic expansion continues until well into the seventeenth century. For example, the Muslims Crusaders conquer Constantinople in 1453 and unsuccessfully besiege Vienna for the second time in 1683 (earlier in 1529). By the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the Islamic Crusades receded, due to Western resistance. Since that time until the present, Islamic civilization has not advanced very far.

Two questions are posed and then answered at length.

Besides following Muhammad, why else did the Muslims launch their Crusades out of Arabia in the first place?

It is only natural to ask why Islam launched its own Crusades long before Christendom did.

In the complicated Muslim Crusades that lasted several centuries before the European Crusades, it is difficult to come up with a grand single theory as to what launched these Crusades. Because of this difficulty, we let three scholars and two eyewitness participants analyze the motives of the early Islamic Crusades.

1. World religious conquest

Muslim polemicists like Sayyid Qutb assert that Islam's mission is to correct the injustices of the world. What he has in mind is that if Islam does not control a society, then injustice dominates it, ipso facto. But if Islam dominates it, then justice rules it (In the Shade of the Qur'an, vol. 7, pp. 8—15). Islam is expansionist and must conquer the whole world to express Allah's perfect will on this planet, so Qutb and other Muslims believe.

2. 'Unruly' energies in Arabia?

Karen Armstrong, a former nun and well—spoken, prolific author and apologist for Islam, comes up short of a satisfactory justification for the Muslim Crusades:

Once [Abu Bakr] crushed the rebellion [against Islamic rule within Arabia], Abu Bakr may well have decided to alleviate internal tensions by employing the unruly energies within the ummah [Muslim community] against external foes. Whatever the case, in 633 Muslim armies began a new series of campaigns in Persia, Syria and Iraq. (Jerusalem: One City, Three Faiths, New York: Ballantine, 1997, p. 226).

Armstrong also notes that the 'external foes' to Islam in Arabia in 633 are the Persians and the Byzantines, but they are too exhausted after years of fighting each other to pose a serious threat to Islam. Therefore, it moved into a 'power vacuum,' unprovoked (Armstrong p. 227). She simply does not know with certainty why Muslims marched northward out of Arabia.

3. Religion, economy, and political control

Fred M. Donner, the dean of historians specializing in the early Islamic conquests, cites three large factors for the Islamic Crusades. First, the ideological message of Islam itself triggered the Muslim ruling elite simply to follow Muhammad and his conquests; Islam had a divinely ordained mission to conquer in the name of Allah. (The Early Islamic Conquests, Princeton UP, 1981, p. 270). The second factor is economic. The ruling elite 'wanted to expand the political boundaries of the new state in order to secure even more fully than before the trans—Arab commerce they had plied for a century or more' (p. 270). The final factor is political control. The rulers wanted to maintain their top place in the new political hierarchy by having aggressive Arab tribes migrate into newly conquered territories (p. 271).

Thus, these reasons they have nothing to do with just wars of self—defense. Early Islam was merely being aggressive without sufficient provocation from the surrounding Byzantine and Persian Empires.

4. Sheer thrill of conquest and martyrdom

Khalid al—Walid (d. 642), a bloodthirsty but superior commander of the Muslim armies at the time, also answers the question as to why the Muslims stormed out of Arabia, in his terms of surrender set down to the governor of al—Hirah, a city along the Euphrates River in Iraq. He is sent to call people to Islam or pay a 'protection' tax for the 'privilege' of living under Islamic rule (read: not to be attacked again) as dhimmis or second—class citizens. Says Khalid:

'I call you to God and to Islam. If you respond to the call, you are Muslims: You obtain the benefits they enjoy and take up the responsibilities they bear. If you refuse, then [you must pay] the jizyah. If you refuse the jizyah, I will bring against you tribes of people who are more eager for death than you are for life. We will fight you until God decides between us and you.' (Tabari, The Challenge to the Empires, trans. Khalid Yahya Blankinship, NY: SUNYP, 1993, vol. 11, p. 4; Arabic page 2017)

Thus, according to Khalid, religion is early Islam's primary motive (though not the only one) of conquering people.

In a short sermon, Abu Bakr says:

. . . Indeed, the reward in God's book for jihad in God's path is something for which a Muslim should love to be singled out, by which God saved [people] from humiliation, and through which He has bestowed nobility in this world and the next. (Tabari 11:80 / 2083—84)

Thus, the Caliph repeats the Quran's trade of this life for the next, in an economic bargain and in the context of jihad (cf. Suras 4:74; 9:111 and 61:10—13). This offer of martyrdom, agreeing with Donner's first factor, religious motivation, is enough to get young Muslims to sign up for and to launch their Crusades out of Arabia in the seventh century.

Khalid also says that if some do not convert or pay the tax, then they must fight an army that loves death as other people love life (see 634).

5. Improvement of life over that in Arabia

But improvement of life materially must be included in this not—so—holy call. When Khalid perceived that his Muslim Crusaders desired to return to Arabia, he pointed out how luscious the land of the Persians was:

'Do you not regard [your] food like a dusty gulch? By God, if struggle for God's sake and calling [people] to God were not required of us, and there were no consideration except our livelihood, the wise opinion would [still] have been to strike this countryside until we possess it'. . . . (Tabari 11:20 / 2031)

Khalid was from Mecca. At the time of this 'motivational' speech, the Empire of Persia included Iraq, and this is where Khalid is warring. Besides his religious goal of Islamizing its inhabitants by warfare, Khalid's goal is to 'possess' the land.

Like Pope Urban II in 1095 exhorting the Medieval Crusaders to war against the Muslim 'infidels' for the first time, in response to Muslim aggression that had been going on for centuries, Abu Bakr gives his own speech in 634, exhorting Muslims to war against the 'infidels,' though he is not as long—winded as the Pope.

Muslim polemicists believe that Islam spread militarily by a miracle from Allah. However, these five earth—bound reasons explain things more clearly.

Did the Islamic Crusades force conversions by the sword?

Historical facts demonstrate that most of the conquered cities and regions accepted the last of three options that were enforced by the later Muslim Crusaders: (1) fight and die, (2) convert and pay the zakat tax; (3) keep their Biblical faith and pay the jizya tax. Most preferred to remain in their own religion.

However, people eventually converted. After all, Islamic lands are called such for a reason—or many reasons. Why? Four Muslim polemicists whitewash the reasons people converted, so their scholarship is suspect.

1. The polemical answer

First, Malise Ruthven and Azim Nanji use the Quran to explain later historical facts:

'Islam expanded by conquest and conversion. Although it was sometimes said that the faith of Islam was spread by the sword, the two are not the same. The Koran states unequivocally, 'There is no compulsion in religion' (Sura 2:256).' (Historical Atlas of Islam, Cambridge, Mass: Harvard, 2004, 30).

According to them, the Quran says there should be no compulsion, so the historical facts conform to a sacred text. This shaky reasoning is analyzed, below.

Next, David Dakake also references Sura 2:256, and defines compulsion very narrowly. Jihad has been misrepresented as forcing Jews, Christians, and other peoples of the Middle East, Asia and Africa to convert to Islam 'on pain of death.' ('The Myth of Militant Islam,' Islam, Fundamentalism, and the Betrayal of Tradition, ed. J.E.B. Lumbard, Bloomington: World Wisdom, 2004, p. 13). This is too narrow a definition of compulsion, as we shall see, below.

Finally, Qutb, also citing Sura 2:256, is even more categorical:

'Never in its history did Islam compel a single human being to change his faith' (In the Shade of the Qur'an, vol. 8, p. 307).

This is absurd on its face, and it only demonstrates the tendentiousness of Islamic scholarship, which must be challenged at every turn here in the West. For more information and thorough logic, see this article.

2. The historical facts

History does not always follow Scriptures because people do not. Did the vast majority of conquered peoples make such fine distinctions, even if a general amnesty were granted to People of the Book? Maybe a few diehards did, but the majority? Most people at this time did not know how to read or could barely read, so when they saw a Muslim army outside their gates, why would they not convert, even if they waited? To Ruthven's and Nanji's credit, they come up with other reasons to convert besides the sword, such as people's fatigue with church squabbles, a few doctrinal similarities, simplicity of the conversion process, a desire to enter the ranks of the new ruling elite, and so on. But using the Quran to interpret later facts paints the history of Islam into a corner of an unrealistically high standard.

This misguided connection between Scripture and later historical facts does not hold together. Revelations or ideals should not run roughshod over later historical facts, as if all followers obey their Scriptures perfectly.

To his credit, Ibn Khaldun (1332—1406), late Medieval statesman, jurist, historian, and scholar, has enough integrity and candor to balance out these four Muslim apologists, writing a history that is still admired by historians today. He states the obvious:

In the Muslim community, the holy war is a religious duty, because of the universalism of the Muslim mission and (the obligation to) convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force. (The Muqaddimah: an Introduction to History (abridged), trans. Franz Rosenthal, Princeton UP, 1967, p.183)

When the Islamic Crusaders go out to conquer, carrying an Islamic banner inscribed in Arabic of the glory and the truth of their prophet, Ibn Khaldun would not deny that the army's mission, besides the material reasons of conquest, is to convert the inhabitants. Islam is a 'universalizing' religion, and if its converts enter its fold either by persuasion or force, then that is the nature of Islam.

Moreover, Ibn Khaldun explains why a dynasty rarely establishes itself firmly in lands of many different tribes and groups. But it can be done after a long time and employing the following tactics, as seen in the Maghrib (N and NW Africa) from the beginning of Islam to Ibn Khaldun's own time:

The first (Muslim) victory over them and the European Christians (in the Maghrib) was of no avail. They continued to rebel and apostatized time after time. The Muslims massacred many of them. After the Muslim religion had been established among them, they went on revolting and seceding, and they adopted dissident religious opinions many times. They remained disobedient and unmanageable . . . . Therefore, it has taken the Arabs a long time to establish their dynasty in the . . . Maghrib. (p. 131)


Though European Crusaders may have been sincere, they wandered off from the origins of Christianity when they slashed and burned and forced conversions. Jesus never used violence; neither did he call his disciples to use it. Given this historical fact, it is only natural that the New Testament would never endorse violence to spread the word of the true God. Textual reality matches historical reality in the time of Jesus.

In contrast, Muslims who slashed and burned and forced conversions did not wander off from the origins of Islam, but followed it closely. It is a plain and unpleasant historical fact that in the ten years that Muhammad lived in Medina (622—632), he either sent out or went out on seventy—four raids, expeditions, or full—scale wars, which range from small assassination hit squads to the Tabuk Crusade, described above (see 630). Sometimes the expeditions did not result in violence, but a Muslim army always lurked in the background. Muhammad could exact a terrible vengeance on an individual or tribe that double—crossed him. These ten years did not know long stretches of peace.

It is only natural that the Quran would be filled with references to jihad and qital, the latter word meaning only fighting, killing, warring, and slaughtering. Textual reality matches historical reality in the time of Muhammad. And after.

But this means that the Church had to fight back or be swallowed up by an aggressive religion over the centuries. Thus, the Church did not go out and conquer in a mindless, bloodthirsty, and irrational way—though the Christian Crusades were far from perfect.

Islam was the aggressor in its own Crusades, long before the Europeans responded with their own.

James Arlandson can be reached at

Supplemental Material

Please see this two—part article (here and here) for the rules of Islamic warfare. Too often they do not follow simple justice, but were barbaric and cruel, such as permitting sex with newly captured female prisoners of war.

This article goes into more detail on the motives for Islamic expansion and a comparison with Christianity. The second major section discusses the weak Islamic claim on Jerusalem.

This book by Andrew Bostom is the antidote to the false belief that life under Islam was always a bed of roses. Bostom provides many source documents, sometimes translated for the first time. Here are some online samples. This two—part article (here and here) recounts Muslim atrocities in Palestine. This two—part article (here and here) demonstrates that jihad produced the European Crusades.


Gil, Moshe. A History of Palestine: 634—1099. Cambridge UP, 1983, 1997.

Nicolle, David. The Armies of Islam. Men—at—Arms. Osprey, 1982.

———. Saladin and the Saracens. Men—at Arms. Osprey, 1986.

———. Armies of the Muslim Conquests. Men—at—Arms. Osprey, 1993.

———. The Moors, the Islamic West. Men—at—Arms. Osprey, 2001.

The Stages of Islamic Expansion

The Stages of Islamic Expansion

Islamist Tactics In Non-Islamic Societies

The following is not based on conjecture or opinion, but rather, on the empirical modus operandi evidence of 1300 years of Islamic history.


The goal of Islamism is the conversion or subjugation of the entire world through the establishment of a global Islamic caliphate and the eradication of all non-Islamic cultures, religions, traditions, and ways of life. This goal is non-negotiable in the eyes of true Muslims.
Islamists will not stop their assault (overt or covert) on the non-Muslim world till they have achieved their divinely prescribed goal.

They believe that the end always justifies the means: Islamists have no respect or regard for the rules, laws, or values of the non-Islamic world, to them, only the precepts propounded in the Koran are legitimate. Only after they have expunged all things un-Islamic from the world, will Allah�s design for humanity be as he intended. Islamists consider treaties with unbelievers to be non-binding. When in non-Muslim countries they will say or do whatever is necessary to obscure their true intentions of eventual domination of the entire world.

When considering Islam, always look at what they do, not what they say. Lying, treachery and deception have traditionally been the Islamists' key tactics of choice in their jihad of conquest. This tactic �al taqiyya in Arabic, or religious deception� is a common practice in Islam.

The methods used by Muhammad, Islam�s founder, are always the template for Muslim conduct.

It is irrelevant whether you acknowledge, reject or ignore this harsh reality, what the Islamists have described as �The Third Great Jihad� is underway, and either you, your children, or grandchildren, will inevitably face its truth.



  • Initial migration wave to non-Muslim country.
  • Maintain a low profile while few in numbers and lacking in power.
  • Appeal for humanitarian tolerance from the non-Muslim populace of the host country.
  • Profess tolerance for others and their beliefs. Establish �interfaith dialogue��heavily weighted toward a pro-Islamic emphasis. Stress Islam�s common �Abrahamic links� with Judaism and Christianity.
  • Strive incessantly to portray Islam as a peaceful religion and Muslims as misunderstood victims of Islamophobic racism.
  • When dealing with the media, or in inter-personal relations, use images of women and children to portray Islam in a gentle, positive, non threatening light.
  • Establish mosques and cultural centres as power bases and safe havens for recruitment and covert subversive projects. (These are funded by the oil revenue of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states).
  • Muslim clerics and community leaders actively promote a high Muslim birthrate in target society to increase locally-born Muslim demographic.
  • Misrepresent the true intentions or aims as a cover for clandestine operations, and deny any hidden agenda, future supremacist ambitions, or connection with radicalism.



Proselytising efforts initiated. (daw�ah)

Facilitate the establishment of, and recruitment for, secretive fundamentalist cells. ( Hizb ut Tahrir, Muslim Brotherhood, Jemaah Islamiya etc.)

Demand that special social, cultural and religious dispensations and exceptions be made for Muslims.

Strive to convert to Islam those non-Muslims in the host society who are alienated, disillusioned or marginalized.

Revisionist efforts to rewrite world history in favour of Islam.

Deny all evidence of negative, incriminating historical sources that reveal the true nature and methods of Islamic expansion.

Use psychological propagandist Jihad to discredit and deprecate non-Muslim history and culture by mounting a critical assault on cultural values and icons of the non-Muslim world, such as democracy, man-made law and science. Increase dissemination of anti-western propaganda and initiate anti-western psychological warfare.

Make a concerted effort to recruit, or second, allies who share similar anti-Western goals (Communists, socialists, multiculturalists, anti-globalism activists, anarchists).

Form alliances with the enemies of Western society particularly �progressives�, cultural relativists, anti capitalism leftists. "The enemy of my enemy is my friend"

Attempt to indoctrinate children to Islamist viewpoint by infiltrating education system using na�ve and sympathetic leftist teachers. Form Islamic student bodies on university campuses to propagate pro-Islamic points of view among tomorrow�s leaders.

Increase efforts to intimidate, silence and discredit critical Muslim apostates and non-Muslim secularists, intellectuals and polemicists.

Strongly advocate the need to introduce vilification and blasphemy laws into the host society�s statutes in order to silence and intimidate critics.

Continued focus on enlarging Muslim population by increasing Muslim births and promoting Muslim immigration to dilute the non-Muslim demographic.

Use first and second generation Muslim citizens as activist foot soldiers and public frontmen and repeatedly stress their native-born status to the media.

Use charities to recruit supporters.

Use the proceeds of crime and fraud to obtain funds to finance activities.

Use covert methods to divide, destabilise, and eventually destroy the host society from within.

Develop an active Muslim political base within the target society to infiltrate and influence the political, educational and legal structure of the country to facilitate the expansion of Islamic influence.

Use bribes, blackmail and badgering of non-Muslim authorities to get them to overlook subversive activities.

Strengthen Islamic financial networks to fund political power and influence. Large scale acquisition of land and resources by any means possible. (Funded by Muslim charities; Gulf countries Oil revenue and criminal activities).

Commence lobbying and agitation for acceptance of a limited, semi- autonomous status, in areas heavily populated by Muslims.

Aggressive public attacks and character assassination of critics aimed at intimidating those who oppose their demands. Dismiss all critics as racist bigots, Islamophobes, intolerant red-necks and Zionists.

NOTE: As a sense of empowerment develops, the fa�ade of tolerance toward non-Muslims falls away and Islamic leaders place greater demands upon Muslims to adopt a strict Islamic way of life and take up a more stridently assertive posture toward the host country. The Friday sermons in mosques become more inflammatory and intolerant describing those who refuse to convert or submit as �counter-initiatory forces� and �rejectionists� who must be neutralised.

Muslim enclaves (millets) become �no-go� areas for non-Muslims, elements of sharia law are implemented in those areas, and the nation�s laws are no longer relevant, co-operation with infidel police ceases and disciplinary matters are dealt with according to Islamic precepts. However, demands are still made on local governments and utilities to maintain municipal services.

Clandestine amassing of weapons and explosive caches within the enclaves.

Non Muslim residents in the millets are now required to comply with the new social order (Islamic dress rules for females, no alcohol, halal food only etc.) or are harassed till they leave the enclave.

Enclaves expand radially, and eventually overlap, forming bigger millets

Continuous and covert nocturnal raids and challenges commence against adjacent target �infidel� suburbs, influential community leaders, liquor outlets, video stores and non-Islamic religious buildings.( synagogues, churches and temples)

Overt disregard, animosity and rejection of the host society's mores, civil authorities, and culture become the norm.

Efforts to undermine and destroy the power base of non-Muslim religions such as Jews, Christians, Hindus or Buddhists.

Efforts to destroy the social structure of the country and bring about the downfall of non-Muslim government.

Use of Islamic gangs in a campaign of fear and terror against all other religions and secularists to reduce their numbers and influence.

NOTE: At this point, statelets now exist within a state and full autonomy is demanded. Having seen �the writing on the wall,� local and state governments acquiesce; religious �conversions of convenience� become common among the softened-up populace, merely to avoid the violent onslaught. Others belatedly form militias as a last-ditch attempt to oppose the spread of Islam and defend all they hold dear.



  • Large-scale destruction of property, assassinations, killings, bombings.
  • Intentional policy to spread chaos in the streets to undermine the national government and public resistance.
  • Acts of barbarity and fierceness as a deliberate policy intended to foster submission of opponents.
  • Open and covert efforts to cause economic collapse of the society.
  • All opposition, irrespective, is challenged and either eradicated or silenced.
  • Widespread ethnic cleansing of �rejectionists� by Islamic militias.
  • Murder of all opposing political, religious and intellectual leaders of the host country.
  • Elimination of all moderate Muslim intellectual �traitors� who had, at any time, supported other alternatives to radical Islam.
  • Toppling of government and usurpation of political power.
  • Imposition of Sharia law.
  • Mass execution of non-Muslims, ethnic cleansing.



  • The Qur�an and the Sharia becomes the "law of the land."
  • All non-Islamic human rights cancelled.
  • Freedom of speech and press eradicated.
  • All Religions other than Islam are forbidden and destroyed.
  • Enslavement and genocide of non-Muslim population.
  • Destruction of all evidence of non-Muslim culture and symbols in the country.
Note: this article is not copyrighted and may be freely reproduced or published.

Growth of Islam in Russia brings Soviet response

Growth of Islam in Russia brings Soviet response



CHERKESSK, Russia, The New York Times - Security officials here in Karachayevo-Cherkessia, a restive republic on Russia's mountainous southern border, have a secret list of people who are kept under scrutiny.

At a mosque in Nalchik, in the Caucasus, Muslims offer evening prayers. Those who pray outside "official" mosques are often harassed.

Muslims in Russia Those on it have committed no crimes, but are considered suspect because they are Muslims who practice Islam outside of the state's sanctioned mosques.

Ovod Golayev is on that list. He lives in Karachayevsk, a city nestled in the foothills of the Caucasus, where he works for a tourism company that organizes skiing and hiking excursions. He wears his hair and beard long. He prays five times a day. He fasts during Ramadan, which is unusual here.

In recent weeks, he said, the police have detained him four times, twice in one day.

Mr. Golayev, 36, said the Islam he observes is opposed to violence, but he warned that the mistreatment of believers was driving men like him to desperation.

"They will pressure me enough," he said, "and then I will blow somebody's head off."

Here in the northern Caucasus, and across all of Russia, Islamic faith is on the rise. So is Islamic militancy, and fear of such militancy, leading to tensions like those felt in Europe, where a flow of immigrants from the Muslim world is straining relations with liberal, secular societies.

And so the government has recreated the Soviet-era system of control over religion with the Muslim Spiritual Department, which oversees the appointment of Islamic leaders.

But the Muslims of Russia are not immigrants and outsiders; they are typically the indigenous people of their regions. "These are Russian citizens, and they have no other motherland," President Vladimir V. Putin said in August, when he met with King Abdullah of Jordan.

In Russia, the struggle over Islam's place is not seen as a question of whether to integrate Muslims into society, but whether the country itself can remain whole. The separatist conflict in Chechnya, more than a decade old, has taken on an Islamic hue. And it is spilling beyond Chechnya's borders in the Caucasus, where Islam has become a rallying force against corruption, brutality and poverty.

On the morning of Oct. 13, scores of men took up arms in Nalchik, the capital of the neighboring republic, Kabardino-Balkariya. They were mostly driven, relatives said, by harassment against men with beards and women with head scarves, and by the closing of six mosques in the city. In two days at least 138 people were killed. In Dagestan and Ingushetia, militants have been blamed for unending bombings and killings.

Followers of a Chechen terrorist leader, Shamil Basayev, have claimed responsibility for the deadliest attacks, including the one in Nalchik, and before that a similar raid in Ingushetia and the school siege in Beslan in September 2004. In Beslan, 331 people were killed, 186 of them children.

All have been part of Mr. Basayev's declared goal to establish an Islamic caliphate, uniting the northern Caucasus in secession from Russia.

That goal has little popular support in the region's other predominantly Muslim republics, but discontent is spreading as the government cracks down. Not all involved in the attacks are hardened fighters of Chechnya's wars. More and more oppose the hard-line stands that the Kremlin takes against anyone who challenges its central authority.

In places like Nalchik and here in Karachayevo-Cherkessia, "official" muftis and imams have themselves been accused of acting to preserve their own status by tolerating the Kremlin's efforts to repress anyone practicing a "purer" form of Islam.

Larisa Dorogova, a lawyer in Nalchik whose nephew Musa was among those killed in the fighting, said Muslims had appealed to the authorities, both religious and secular, to end the abuse of believers, only to be ignored. "If they had listened to the letters we wrote - from 400 people, from 1,000 - maybe this would not have happened," she said.

Officials have denounced those who took up arms in Nalchik with the same broad brush they have used to describe Mr. Basayev's forces. Mr. Putin linked the Nalchik uprising to international terrorists, whom he called "animals in human guise." But in the Caucasus, where Islamic-inspired violence has killed far more people than terrorists have in Western Europe, the prevailing view is quite different.

"They were all good guys," Ms. Dorogova said of Nalchik's fighters.

The paradox of Islam in today's Russia is that Muslims have never been freer.

The collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of its repression of all faiths led to an Islamic revival in the past 14 years. Islam is officially recognized as one of Russia's four principal religions, along with Orthodox Christianity, Buddhism and Judaism. Russia has applied to join the Organization of Islamic States.

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Muslims in Russia The number of Muslims is estimated at 14 million to 23 million, 10 percent to 16 percent of Russia's population. They are spread across the country but congregate in several Muslim-majority republics.

Thousands of mosques have been rebuilt and reopened, as have madrasas, including one here in Cherkessk, where 66 young men and women learn the fundamentals of their faith. Among their teachers are four Egyptians. "We could pray on Red Square and no one would care," the imam of Cherkessk's mosque, Kazim Katchiyev, said after evening prayers recently.

This tolerance, however, has been strained. Believers outside of the state's Muslim departments are increasingly viewed with suspicion because of the radicalization of Chechnya and other republics. They are denounced as Wahhabis, followers of the puritanical sect from Saudi Arabia, a word that has become Russian shorthand for any Islamic militant.

There has also been a violent backlash. On Oct. 14, for example, a group of young men ransacked a prayer house in Sergiyev Posad, near Moscow, badly beating an imam. They shouted, "There is no place for Muslims in Russia," according to the Council of Muftis, which represents the spiritual departments in Russia.

Mufti Ravil Gainutdin, the council's chairman, said the government needed to do more, complaining that state television routinely depicted Muslims collectively as radicals waging holy war against Russia, rather than as members of Russian society.

"If we educate Muslim children to be rebel fighters, ready to do battle, and meanwhile teach Russians to be against Muslims, then we do not have the right policy," he said. "And so the leadership of this country, the government, must see this and respond to this."

He warned that government policy in the Caucasus, and its failure to overcome deep social and economic problems, was pushing some to seek refuge in what he considers improperly radicalize forms of Islam.

"If people see social injustice, corruption in the authorities, the unfair assumption of wealth among some and the impoverishment of others, then that is a cause of unhappiness, of a radicalization of moods, of something that leads to conflict and revolution."

In Nalchik, many Muslims blamed the republic's former president, Valery Kokov, for the seething tensions that exploded in violence last month. His Interior Ministry had responded harshly against those who observed Islamic rituals. Arbitrary arrests and beatings were common.

Many of those killed in Nalchik were not hardened fighters, but local residents acting out of what appeared to be desperation. Many were not armed, according to officials, but were hoping to seize weapons from police stations.

Among the dead was Kazbulat B. Kerefov, 25, a lawyer and former police officer. His parents, Betal and Fatima, refused to believe he was a militant, but like many there understood what set off the attack. "It was not a terrorist act," Betal Kerefov said in an interview in the family's apartment. "It was a revolt."

Ali Pshigotyzhev, 55, worked as an announcer on state radio for 30 years until he was dismissed, he said, for praying. His son, Zaur, was arrested on Oct. 29 in a wave of detentions that followed the fighting. Mr. Pshigotyzhev accused the local imams in effect of endorsing the repressions, for fear of losing their status.

"People were patient in this republic, but patience has its limits," he said in Nalchik's only mosque. "And a tragedy occurred. And it is only the beginning of the tragedy."

Such sentiments are what the authorities fear most.

Mustafa Batdiyev, the president of Karachayevo-Cherkessia, said his region openly supported Islam. A businessman, he paid for the construction of a mosque in his native village. The republic pays for people to make pilgrimages to Mecca. The last day of Ramadan is a holiday in the republic.

But Chechnya's separatists, he said, had hijacked Islam to wrest control of the Caucasus from Russia, instilling an insidious version that is not widely accepted among the region's comparatively secular Muslims. Rebel leaders like Mr. Basayev, he added, were actively recruiting militants across the region, including in his republic, justifying the compilation of the list of suspects.

The people on the list "have not yet broken any Russian laws, so no measures, no force have been used against them," he said. "But we have talked and are talking to the population and explaining about them, so as to warn any of their possible supporters and to deny them the opportunity to attract more of our young people to their ranks."

He added, "We cannot accept and cannot agree with the way these people worship."

In May, security officials raided an apartment here in Cherkessk, killing six people accused of terrorism. Five were local residents. Among the dead were two women, one eight months pregnant, according to Mukhammat Budai, a neighbor of the woman's mother.

Mr. Batdiyev said the raid had disrupted a plan to seize a school, as happened in Beslan, but evidence was never detailed. A similar case happened in February, in Karachayevsk, the city in the foothills where Mr. Golayev lives under scrutiny and suspicion. He adopted Islam after serving in the Soviet Army in East Germany.

The authorities, he said, fear Islam because they fear the discipline it demands, the defiance it offers in a corrupted society. "Who needs a person who does not drink, who does not smoke, who has freedom?" he said of the official attitude. "If I am lying drunk on the ground, I am easier to control."


The role of demographics in relation to the Islamic-Western relations

Ioannis Michaletos
(RIEAS Junior Analyst and Editor at Southeast Europe, World Security Foundation)


Traditionally- or at least in the past 5 centuries- the West enjoyed an unparalleled superiority in technological, economic and military sphere versus the East. Nowadays the Western and in particular European power is facing a dramatic decline due to an old but very effective weapon, their own population decline and the population explosion by the Muslim states. In the previous decades since the end of WWII a tremendous demographic expansion of the Islamic population worldwide has occurred and the trends are for continuation well into the 21st century.

The Balkans in the 90�s, were the first areas in Europe where the population explosion of Muslims resulted in a virtual takeover in areas such as central Bosnia and Kosovo. Even Montenegro, a traditional Eastern Orthodox nation, has a sizeable Muslim minority that will eventually became a majority within the coming decades should the upward projection trends prevail.

Demographics are a sensitive issue in discussion of worldwide events such as regional conflicts or terrorism. The politically correct modus that dominates the Western political system combined with an absence of historical research, has laid the foundations of ignorance on how macro-historical population alterations can and do change history and remake a civilization and the way of life.

In our age the Muslim world has at its disposal the ultimate weapon to remake the European future. The weapon is not nuclear nor chemical, but simply the population bomb, or as one might state it as the �P-Bomb�!

Islam: The unparallel growth

For centuries the Islamic world was suffering from a weakness in replacing its human resources. The territory traditionally inhabited by Muslims was an area inflicted by various invasions (Mongols, Crusaders, internal conflicts), as well as covered with large segments of non-arable land and desert. Therefore the population growth was weakened by environmental and human factors, resulting into a more or less stable demographic outlook.
In the era of the great Arabic expansion-8th-12th Century A.C- Islam was the religion and way of life for around 40-50 million people that was not more than 10% of world�s then population.

In order to support their continuous invasion plans towards Europe and India, Muslims assimilated foreign elements in their communities like Christians and Jews, and such assimilation was done by proselytism, often forced and sometimes not, to convert them into Islam. Most of these faith-turnarounds were committed by the use of brute force, mass kidnappings of mostly young aged Christians, slavery and alike.
Later as a result of the Turkish Ottoman occupation of the Balkans in the 15th century AD expansion of the Islam penetrated well into the European territory, as far as Southern Hungary.

The decaying nature of the Ottoman Empire that viewed industry with dismay, resulted in the 19th century national rebirth of nations such as Serbs, Greek, Bulgars and a subsequent expulsion of many Islamic communities in South Eastern Europe that were settled there by force in the first place.

At that time, West was viewed victorious: British and French colonialism stretched across most of North Africa and the Middle East and the triumph of the West was self-evident.

The encounter of the Western capitalistic states with the underdeveloped Muslim world in the early 20th century was beneficial for the Muslims as introduction of new agricultural methods, sanitation and industrial production, resulted in the dramatic uplifting of the way of life for millions of Muslims that began to reverse the demographic trends that up to then were characterized by high death rate. A French historian, Fernard Braudel, was the lone voice in 1957 that alerted Europe of the ticking Muslim population bomb. Braudel predicted that the then 75 million Muslims of the Middle East will reach 110 million by the early 21st century, a very low prediction of today's actual of 300 million.

Incredible predictions and possible outcomes

An average woman in the Muslim world is the mother of more than 4 children on average, well more than twice than the European level. This sums up into an annual population increase in the Middle East of around 2%.

In the midst of the Europe's victorious 19th century the population growth rate was not more than 1.5%. One has to remember that such lower European growth did enabled the colonization of most of the America and Australia and the creation of quasi European states such as USA, Australia, Canada that actually dominate the world scene today.

In 1960 the percentage of Muslims worldwide was around 13% while in 2001 it reached just above 20%. If the trends continue -- all thing equal -- in 2050 around 35% of world�s population will be Muslim, by far the largest percentage in Islam�s history.

Another element associated directly with the population growth is the high percentage of young people in Muslim countries that cannot be absorbed into the job markets and have great difficulties in upward social mobility. In combination with the autarchic regimes that govern quite a few Muslim states; a breeding ground for rebellion, terrorism and civil unrest has been unraveled. As the reach in the world shrinks due to improved telecommunications and transport, so do the social ramifications of the Middle East become globally widespread.

In the recent European history the state of Bosnia illustrates the dynamics of demographics in internal politics. In 1948 the Muslim population of that Yugoslav republic was less than 30%. In 1991 when Yugoslavia disintegrated Muslims comprised 44% and became the religious denominators of that new state. In Kosovo, today's Muslim Albanian population in the early 50�s was around 60% and 40 years later reached an overwhelming 90%. Both of these regions became theatres of conflict involving Muslims against Christians.

Of course population growth is not the only explanatory factor of a series of regional conflicts, but is an important element when one wants to predict future peripheral shifts of power that may eventually lead to wars and uprisings.

Europe- Middle East demography

If it is to examine European and Middle Eastern states and their historical demographic projection, interesting notes could be taken, that reveal wider trends and imbalance of power.

In the 50�s the population of Greece was 7 million people, while the one of Turkey was 21 million, a 1:3 analogy. Nowadays Greece encompasses 11.1 million citizens and Turkey 70 million. Therefore the analogy is 1:7 and that may explain to an extent the roots of the current Greek-Turkish rivalry and brinkmanship.

Continuing in the early 70�s the Magreb states of Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt had population of 70 million. In the same period the Mediterranean European states, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece, were populated in total by 160 million people. Today the numbers are 150 million for North Africa and 180 million for Southern Europe.
The trajectory for the year 2050 will be 250 million for North Africa and just 150 million for Southern Europe. In essence a population gap in Mediterranean Europe will be in stark contrast with an incredible increase in states just a few nautical miles from their shores.
The European Union already has drafted plans for a pan-European coast Guard force, in order to control the inevitable mass immigration from South to the North. Future will tell if that will be an effective measure.

Already, sizable Muslim minorities inhabit European metropolis such as Berlin, Paris and London. In France 75 of the populous cities have Muslims and around 4% in Germany and UK.
The American campaign War on terror coupled with terrorist attacks in Europe over the past few years, has increased European suspicion in their Muslim neighbors and at the same time it has increased the assertiveness of the Muslim communities that view themselves as persecuted and discriminated against.

As Islam precludes assimilating into a new society and teaches that the new society should be assimilated into Islam, coupled with widespread proselytism that has already begun in certain states, the population gap between two communities should further increase the size of Muslim presence in Europe.

Historically, population shifts are a recurring phenomenon and Europe was already witnessed the Barbarian Invasions from the North in the late centuries of the Roman Empire. Later on the infamous Vikings populated areas in the European periphery leaving their marks up to date. From the Eastern territory nations such as the Hungarians, Huns, Tatars and Mongols had populated parts of Eastern Europe and played a significant role in the shaping Europe�s civilization. All of these new nations, however, exhibited cultural tendency to assimilate with one another and accept cultural ways of their neighbors, something not happening with the Muslims.

The Yugoslav conflicts over the past 15 years have revealed the first appearance of militant Muslim posture in a European territory, not previously seen since the Balkan wars of 1912-13. Meanwhile, the illegal immigration of Muslims from North Africa, Middle East and the Hindu Subcontinent into Europe has sharply increased, finding itself safe havens of communication, logistic and transport support in places like Pristina, Sarajevo and Tetovo.
These cities are that green corridor that is now controlled by the Western peacekeeping forces, but many project they will not be there for ever. US has already announced a total withdrawal from Bosnia.

Political correctness is handicapping Europe to use of logic in dealing with the emerging death of its Greco-Roman European civilization - and the outcome quite reasonably would be for Europe to view developments with awe and distress not willing to comprehend the simple facts of life that without rebirth there is only death.

Predicting a Majority-Muslim Russia

Predicting a Majority-Muslim Russia

by Daniel Pipes
Sat, 6 Aug 2005

updated Sun, 6 Jan 2008

"Russia's Turning Muslim, Says Mufti" is the startling headline in the Times of London today. Ravil Gaynutdin, head of the Council of Muftis of Russia, announced that Russia's population of 144 million contains 23 million ethnic Muslims – and not, as the census indicates, 14.5 million, or, as the Orthodox Church estimates, nearer to 20 million. An estimated 3-4 million Muslims are migrants from former Soviet regions, including 2 million Azeris, 1 million Kazakhs, and several hundred thousand Uzbeks, Tajiks and Kyrgyz.

Plus, Russians of Orthodox background are converting to Islam. (For one important case, see the story of Viacheslav Sergeevich Polosin.) The Orthodox church claims 80 million adherents, but observers say the real number is about half that, and falling.

And more: while the Orthodox population is in demographic decline, the Muslim population is surging. Although the total Russian population dropped by 400,000 in the first half of 2005, it increased in 15 regions, such as the Muslim republics of Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia. The birth rate is 1.8 children per woman in Dagestan, versus 1.3 for Russia as a whole. Male life expectancy is 68 in Dagestan, versus 58 for Russia.

The Times observes that this growth in the Muslim population "has raised fears among Orthodox Church leaders and nationalists that Russia could eventually become a Muslim-majority nation." Aleksei Malashenko, an expert on Islam, does not expect Russia to become "a Muslim society in several years, although maybe in half a century we'll see something surprising." (August 6, 2005)

Feb. 28, 2006 update: Paul Goble, an expert on minorities in the former Soviet Union, agrees with the mufti.

Within most of our lifetimes the Russian Federation, assuming it stays within current borders, will be a Muslim country. That is it will have a Muslim majority and even before that the growing number of people of Muslim background in Russia will have a profound impact on Russian foreign policy. The assumption in Western Europe or the United States that Moscow is part of the European concert of powers is no longer valid. … The Muslim growth rate, since 1989, is between 40 and 50 percent, depending on ethnic groups. Most of that is in the Caucuses or from immigration from Central Asia or Azerbaijan.

Goble notes the exponential growth in Islam since the demise of the Soviet Union: Russia had about 300 mosques in 1991 and now there are at least 8,000, about half of which were built with money from abroad, especially from Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia. There were no Islamic religious schools in 1991 and today there are between 50 and 60, teaching as many as 50,000 students. The number of Russians going on the hajj each year, has jumped from 40 in 1991 to 13,500 in 2005. He quotes a Russian commentator predicting that within the next several decades there will be a mosque on Red Square.

June 7, 2006 update: In an article titled, "Russia faces demographic disaster," BBC analyst Steven Eke focuses on the general problem of the country's population declining by at least 700,000 people annually (for example, the slow depopulation of the northern and eastern regions and the emergence of uninhabited "ghost villages"). He also interviews a Russian demographer, Viktor Perevedentsev, who dismisses the prospect of a Muslim majority:

Mr Perevedentsev dismisses the notion that Russia could become a majority Muslim nation, and says this is a spectre being deliberately whipped up by politicians with little understanding of demography. He acknowledges that there are very high birth-rates among these population groups, but insists they merely reflect an earlier stage of development and will ultimately fall. In 50 years' time, he says, Muslims will still be a small part of Russia's overall population.

Comment: Perevedentsev is, of course, correct that the Muslim birthrate will eventually come down. But, as Mark Steyn points out, "demographics is a game of last man standing. The groups that succumb to demographic apathy last will have a huge advantage." We do not know at this time how long it will be until the Russian Muslim birthrate tumbles, and what the percentage of Muslims in Russia will be at that time. In short, Muslims could be a majority in Russia.

Nov. 19, 2006 update: Goble makes an even more dramatic statement to Michael Mainville of the San Francisco Chronicle: "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." Mainville updates some statistics in "Russia has a Muslim dilemma: Ethnic Russians hostile to Muslims"

Russia's overall population is dropping at a rate of 700,000 people a year, largely due to the short life spans and low birth rates of ethnic Russians. The country's 2002 census shows that the national fertility rate is 1.5 children per woman, far below the 2.1 children per woman needed to maintain the country's population of about 143 million. The rate in Moscow is even lower, at 1.1 children per woman.

But Russia's Muslims are bucking that trend. The fertility rate for Tatars living in Moscow, for example, is six children per woman, Goble said, while the Chechen and Ingush communities are averaging 10 children per woman. And hundreds of thousands of Muslims from Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan have been flocking to Russia in search of work. Since 1989, Russia's Muslim population has increased by 40 percent to about 25 million. By 2015, Muslims will make up a majority of Russia's conscript army, and by 2020 a fifth of the population. "If nothing changes, in 30 years people of Muslim descent will definitely outnumber ethnic Russians," Goble said.

The political implications of this shift are, of course, far-reaching: "For many ethnic Russians, the prospect of becoming a minority in their country is unthinkable, and nationalist sentiments are on the rise.… Attacks on mosques have been increasing." The authorities have responded:

Russian authorities have begun to crack down. This fall, four Russian regions introduced mandatory classes in Orthodox Christianity in all schools. On Wednesday, [Nov. 15,] the Russian Cabinet announced a new law that will ban foreigners, most of them Muslims, from working in retail stalls and markets, starting next year. Thursday, the director of the Federal Migration Service, Konstantin Romodanovsky, said foreigners should not be allowed to create "ethnic enclaves" in which they outnumber "native Russians" in any district or region of the country.… In recent years, Russia has expelled dozens of foreigners accused of preaching radical Islam on its territory.

The media is also encouraging hostility:

On Russian television, Muslims are most often portrayed as either criminals or religious radicals waging a holy war against Christians. One of Russia's bestselling novels last year, The Mosque of Notre Dame de Paris, depicted a mid-21st century Europe where Islam was the state religion and Christians were forced to live in ghettos.

And Goble draws an interesting policy conclusion: Western governments need to encourage the Russians to integrate Muslims and not discriminate against them because "When Muslims are in the majority in Russia, they'll remember whether we spoke out for their rights or failed to."

Dec. 3, 2006 update: Michael Mainville, now writing for the Toronto Star, provides more interesting information in "Islam thrives as Russia's population falls."

  • Moscow is estimated to have a Muslim population of 2.5 million - the largest of any European city other than Istanbul.
  • Muslims make up about 25 million of Russia's total population of about 143 million, or some 17.5 percent of the population. (That makes the Muslim percentage in Russia just a bit below of the Muslim percentage in Israel.)
  • If current trends continue, more than half of Russia's population will be Muslim by mid-century.
  • A bestselling novel in 2005, The Mosque of Notre Dame de Paris, depicts a mid-twenty-first century Europe where Islam is the state religion and Christians are restricted to living in ghettos.

Demographic tends have heightened tensions between the ethnic Russian population and Muslims, with several manifestations.

  • The Russian media has become overtly anti-Muslim. The television often portrays them as criminals or religious fanatics waging jihad against Christians.
  • Extreme Russian nationalist groups, such as Alexander Belov's "Movement against Illegal Immigration," are gaining influence. Belov states that "Russia is historically a Slavic, Orthodox Christian land and we need to make sure it stays that way." He wants Orthodox Christianity made Russia's official religion and the state to convert Muslims. Muslims, whether with Russian citizenship or immigrants, should be restricted from living in "traditional Russian lands."
  • Responding to such sentiments, four Russian regions recently introduced mandatory instruction in Orthodox Christianity in all schools. And on Nov. 15, "the Russian cabinet announced a new law that will ban foreigners from working in retails stalls and markets next year. The law doesn't specifically target Muslims, but the vast majority of people working in Russia's markets are either Muslim immigrants or from traditionally Muslim parts of Russia."
  • Inter-ethnic violence on the rise. "Attacks on mosques are not uncommon," writes Mainville, "and in September an imam in the southern city of Kislovodsk was shot dead outside his home. During days of rioting in August, angry mobs chased Chechens and other migrants from the Caucasus region out of the northwestern town of Kondopoga."

Russia's overall fertility rate is 1.3 children per woman and its population is dropping by 700,000 people a year. But these numbers hide a vast gulf between ethnic Russians, who have an even lower birth rate and larger population drop, and the Muslim population, which has increased by 40 per cent since 1989. Paul Goble again provides a striking sound-byte. "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." The implications of that statement deserve careful consideration.

Dec. 4, 2006 update: Another indication of Islam's progress among Russians concerns former-Russian-spy-turned-dissident Alexander Litvinenko, who died of Polonium-210 poisoning in London on November 23. He converted to Islam on his deathbed, according to Akhmed Zakayev, a Chechen Islamist who lived next door to Litvinenko: "He was read to from the Koran the day before he died and had told his wife and family that he wanted to be buried in accordance with Muslim tradition." His father Walter confirmed this development in an interview: Alexander, born an Orthodox Christian told him, "I want to be buried according to Muslim tradition."

Dec. 21, 2006 update: Joseph A. D'Agostino, a demographer at the Population Research Institute, writes in "Motherless Russia - Muslims and Chinese Vie For Huge Assets of Dying Nation":

Some think that France will be the first European country in modern times to be taken over by Muslims due to her very large, violent immigrant population and effeminate native populace. Others point to the Netherlands, from which native Dutch people are beginning to flee in the face of hostile Islamism among the immigrants in that densely-populated nation. But Russia—a huge nation with vast natural resources, thousands of nuclear warheads, and until recently a global superpower—may be the first to go under. This seems possible even though Russia suffers little from the suicidal tolerance and multiculturalism that afflicts Western Europeans. …

In 2015, less than ten years from now, Muslims could make up a majority of the Russian military. Military service is compulsory for young Russian men, though only 10% actually serve due to college deferments, bribes to escape duty, and the like. Given the famously brutal Russian military, perhaps avoiding military service is forgivable. But will the generals be able to avoid having a Muslim military if most young men who haven't fled Russia are Muslim? Will such a military operate effectively given the fury that many domestic Muslims feel toward the Russian military's tactics in the Muslim region of Chechnya? What if other Muslim regions of Russia—some of which contain huge oil reserves—rebel against Moscow? Will Muslim soldiers fight and kill to keep them part of the Russian motherland? …

With birthrates, death rates, and emigration rates the way they are now, it is highly plausible that Russia could be majority Muslim by 2040.

Apr. 10, 2007 update: Russian Islam specialist Roman Silantyev offers a dissenting view to the above, according to an interview he did with Interfax. "The most widespread estimation of 20 million Muslims is unrealistic," he says, calling this "the most serious myth" about Islam in today's Russia. While he has seen estimates varying between 5 and 50 million Muslims in Russia, the number of ethnic Muslims is about 14.5 million, while surveys find only 7 to 9 million people who adhere to the Islamic faith.

Silantyev also dismisses as myth the idea of mass conversions of ethnic Russian to Islam. "Less than 3,000 ethnic Russian have converted to Islam" during the past fifteen years, he says. In contrast, over that same period, almost 2 million ethic Muslims have become Orthodox Christians. In 70 percent of marriages between a Muslim and a Christian, for example, the Muslim spouse converts to Christianity.

July 29, 2007 update: Staving off demographic decline has become a Russian government obsession, as suggested by Edward Lucas's report, "Sex for the motherland: Russian youths encouraged to procreate at camp." From the article's opening:

Remember the mammoths, say the clean-cut organisers at the youth camp's mass wedding. "They became extinct because they did not have enough sex. That must not happen to Russia". Obediently, couples move to a special section of dormitory tents arranged in a heart-shape and called the Love Oasis, where they can start procreating for the motherland.

With its relentlessly upbeat tone, bizarre ideas and tight control, it sounds like a weird indoctrination session for a phoney religious cult. But this organisation - known as Nashi, meaning "Ours" – is a youth movement run by Vladimir Putin's Kremlin that has become a central part of Russian political life. Nashi's annual camp, 200 miles outside Moscow, is attended by 10,000 uniformed youngsters and involves two weeks of lectures and physical fitness.

Attendance is monitored via compulsory electronic badges and anyone who misses three events is expelled. So are drinkers; alcohol is banned. But sex is encouraged, and condoms are nowhere on sale. Bizarrely, young women are encouraged to hand in thongs and other skimpy underwear - supposedly a cause of sterility - and given more wholesome and substantial undergarments.

Twenty-five couples marry at the start of the camp's first week and ten more at the start of the second. These mass weddings, the ultimate expression of devotion to the motherland, are legal and conducted by a civil official.

Russians at a youth camp, preparing to procreate.

Dec. 18, 2007 update: "Muslim Russia" is a term coming into vogue among Russia's increasingly confident Muslims, reports Paul Goble, thereby frightening the country's non-Muslims.

Until recently, Daniyal Isayev writes in a commentary on the portal, the Muslims of Russia, like most analysts who discuss their community, typically spoke "about ‘Islam and Russia,' ‘Islam in Russia,' and even ‘[non-ethnic] Russian Islam." But they "never" referred to "'Muslim Russia.'" Now, he writes, ever more of the faithful there are doing just that, a reflection of "how much is changing both in the world and in Russia itself"—and "especially in the consciousness, self-conception and position of Muslims" living in that country (

This shift does not represent a split in Russian society, the Muslim commentator insists, but rather represents an affirmation that Islam is "an inalienable part of Russia" and that "Russia as a state and civilization could not exist without Islam and the Muslims." The Islamic community emerged "on the territory of contemporary Russia not only centuries earlier than in many other regions of the world which today are considered traditionally Islamic but centuries before the appearance of the [ethnic] Russian people and [ethnic] Russian and [non-ethnic] Russian statehood."

"Muslim Russia," he writes, "is Derbent, Kazan, Astrakhan, Ufa, Tyumen, Orenburg and so on. Today, this is also Moscow and St. Petersburg. [It] is the creativity of Pushkin, Lermontov, and Tolstoy, … an enormous territory and peoples of Northern Eurasia who were drawn together by the Golden Horde." Moreover, "Muslim Russia is [also] the victories on the fronts of the First and Second World Wars, gold medals at the Olympics and scientific achievements of recent years." And the future of Muslim Russia, Isayev suggests, is certain to be even richer and more beneficial to the country.

Goble then quotes from four Russian nationalist writers expressing dismay at the surge of Islam in their country. Goble concludes that "these two sets of attitudes, the increasingly self-confident Muslim one, on the one hand, and the increasingly defensive ethnic Russian one, on the other, points to more conflicts ahead," unless both sides pull back and reflect on the dangers that could result.

Related Topics: Converts to Islam, Demographics, Russia/Soviet Union

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