October 21, 2013 - 14:44 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Not only do ethnic Muslims account for 21 million to 23 million of Russia’s total population of 144 million, or 15 percent, but their proportion is fast-growing, Daniel Pipes, American historian, writer, and political commentator, as well as president of the Middle East Forum, says in “Muslim Russia?” commentary on The Washington Times.
“Alcoholism-plagued ethnic Russians are said to have European birthrates and African death rates. Their women have on average 1.4 children, and their men have a life expectancy of 60 years. In Moscow, ethnic Christian women have 1.1 child. In contrast, Muslim women bear 2.3 children on average and have fewer abortions than their Russian counterparts. In Moscow, Tatar women have six children and Chechen and Ingush women have 10. In addition, some 3 million to 4 million Muslims have moved to Russia from ex-republics of the Soviet Union, mainly from Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan; and some ethnic Russians are converting to Islam,” he says.
“These trends point to Christians declining in numbers by 0.6 percent a year and Muslims increasing by that same amount, which will have dramatic effects over time. Some analysts foresee Muslims becoming a majority in the 21st century — a demographic revolution that would fundamentally change the country’s character. Russia’s increasingly confident Muslims, who constitute a majority of 57 out of the country’s 182 ethnic groups, have started to use the term Muslim Russia to signal their ambitions,” he notes, adding that within a few years, Muslims will make up half the conscripts in the Russian army.
“Discussions of Islam in Europe tend to focus on places like Britain and Sweden, but Russia, the country with the largest Muslim community in both relative and absolute terms, is above all the place to watch. The anti-migrant violence last week will surely be followed by much worse problems,” Pipes concludes.
Meanwhile, The Independent reports that prisoners in UK are increasingly being forced to convert to Islam by their fellow inmates, the prison officers’ union has warned.
Muslim gangs are growing in power and influence among prisoners, and there are concerns that they are targeting vulnerable new arrivals – making prisons a breeding ground for extremism.
“It is a concern, and there’s been clear evidence from a variety of different incidents. Young men are being targeted and then coerced into converting to Islam,” the association’s general secretary, Steve Gillan, said.
Joe Chapman, a former prison officer who now acts as a prison law consultant, said he thought the situation was deteriorating.
“I think it could be a huge problem. Previously I'd probably only worked in about a dozen or so prisons as an officer, but this job takes me to 40 or 50 over the year, throughout the country. It's become obvious to me that it's a growing problem. About half a dozen of my clients have directly reported problems with being forced to convert ... those that weren't Muslim when they came in and those that were and have been forced to look at more radical ideas about their faith.”