Staunton, Nov. 9 – The rising tide of anti-immigrant attitudes in the Russian Federation over the course of recent months threatens to spark more hostility to that country’s Muslim citizens, according to both Muslim leaders and Russian experts on inter-ethnic relations. Should that happen, clashes between Muslims and non-Muslims there would likely intensify as well.
Mufti Albir Krganov, head of the Spiritual Assembly of Muslims of Russia, one of the four all-Russian super-MSDs, says that he and his fellow Muslim leaders are “concerned by the possibility that [hostility to immigrants] could grow into hostility toward Muslims as well” (kommersant.ru/doc/6322798 and nazaccent.ru/content/41496-muftij-krganov-volna-migrantofobii-mozhet-perekinutsya-na-musulman.html).
Vladimir Zorin, a former nationalities minister and currently head of the Social Chamber’s Commission on Inter-Ethnic and Inter-Religious Relations, agrees and argues that the problem now is far greater than it was in the past, with many Russians not distinguishing between Muslim immigrants and indigenous Muslim citizens.
Other experts agree, arguing that the media have failed to maintain this distinction and that the Putin government itself has allowed anti-migrant attitudes to intensify, apparently confident that it can control the situation. But if hostility to immigrants jumps to Muslims in general that will be far more difficult if not impossible.