Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Window on Eurasia: Mosques Now Serve as Communications Centers for Illegal Immigrants, Russians Say

Paul Goble

            Staunton, March 13 – Mosques in Russian cities have become a communications hub for illegal migrants, some Russians say, and consequently, “the more mosques” that are permitted, “the more illegal migrants” there will be, an argument that is certain to intensify opposition to the construction of Islamic facilities across the country.

            Given that the Russian authorities admit there are 3.3 million illegals in the Russian Federation already and the likelihood that the real number is far greater than that, these Russians say, the construction of any new mosques should be put off until Moscow is able to restore law and order in this area.

            Such attitudes, especially if they become widespread, are likely to prompt the Russian authorities not only to oppose any new construction for their growing Muslim population but also to monitor more closely and perhaps even raid mosques in the name of the politically popular idea of fighting illegal immigration.

            According to an article on the “Osobaya bukhva” this week, mosques currently serve as a place where illegal immigrants can learn “various methods” of avoiding Russia’s official migration services and thus by their nature contribute to an increase in their number and their illegality (

            The article, which is based on the weekly program “Kirillov Says,” reports on the views of some Russians who say that they might not oppose the construction of new mosques if the problem with illegal immigration were brought under control, although many of those with whom Kirill spoke appear to be against mosques as such.

            In reporting on these comments, Kirillov says that he is “not asserting that every imam is some kind of local variant of the Dikkensian Fagin,” who is deploying immigrants to engage in illegal activities, but rather that mosques in Russian cities are places where illegals assemble and learn how to arrange their lives out of sight of the authorities.

            Because the mosques help the illegal immigrants, he continues, that means “the more mosques, the more illegals there will be.”  And he insists that this will be the case until “a new visa regime is established with the countries of Central Asia,” an approach now favored even by the Coordinating Council of the Opposition.

            Kirillov relates the conversation he had with Sergey “Spider” Troitsky about this and about how the latter would cope with the problem of illegal immigrants in the Russian Federation.  Troitsky’s comments are disturbing, but they likely reflect the attitudes of many others.

            Troitsky suggested that “in order to struggle with the wild quantity of Caucasians who are now occupying Russia,” there is only one appropriate measure: “all the gastarbeiters must be put under the control of the Emergency Situations Ministry,” which will “purchase” the necessary workers in Central Asia or China and then ensure that they work only where they are wanted.

            In his city of Zhukovsky, Troitsky continued, such an arrangement would allow for the creation of “a labor army,” with military discipline and whose members would serve only in positions out of the public eye and not in stores or supermarkets so that they would not offend the sensibilities of the local Russian population.

            He said he opposes the construction of any mosque there, “not because” he is against Muslims, but because there should not be any new religious buildings lest after the erection of a mosque, demands would arise for a Baptist church or a Satanist one.  “We will not permit that,” he concluded.

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