ISLAM and MUSLIMS IN ESTONIA

      

General Information

National name: Eesti Vabariik

Land area: 16,684 sq mi (43,211 sq km); total area: sq mi (sq km)

Population (2008 est.): 1,307,605

Capital and largest city (2003 est.): Tallinn, 379,000

Other large city: Tartu, 100,100

Monetary unit: Kroon

Languages: Estonian 67% (official), Russian 30%, other (2000)

Ethnicity/race: Estonian 67.9%, Russian 25.6%, Ukrainian 2.1%, Belorussian 1.3%, Finn 0.9%, other 2.2% (2000)

National Holiday: Independence Day, February 24

Religions: Evangelical Lutheran 14%, Russian Orthodox 13%, other Christian (including Methodist, Seventh-Day Adventist, Roman Catholic, Pentecostal) 1%, unaffiliated 34%, none 6% (2001)

Literacy: 100% (2003 est.)

Economic summary: GDP/PPP (2007 est.): $29.35 billion; per capita $21,100. Real growth rate: 7.1%. Inflation: 6.6%.

Estonia is mainly a lowland country that is bordered by the Baltic Sea, Latvia, and Russia. It has numerous lakes and forests and many rivers, most draining northward into the Gulf of Finland or eastward into Lake Peipus, its largest lake.

Estonians resisted the assaults of Vikings, Danes, Swedes, and Russians before the 13th century. In 1346, the Danes, who possessed northern Estonia, sold the land to the Teutonic Knights of Germany, who already possessed Livonia (southern Estonia and Latvia). The Teutonic Knights reduced the Estonians to serfdom. In 1526, the Swedes took over, and the power of the German (Balt) landowning class was reduced. But after 1721, when Russia succeeded Sweden as the ruling power under the Peace of Nystad, the Estonians were subject to a double bondage—the Balts and the czarist officials. The oppression lasted until the closing months of World War I, when Estonia finally achieved independence after a victorious war (1918–1920). But shortly after the start of World War II, the nation was occupied by Russian troops and incorporated as the 16th republic of the USSR in 1940. Germany occupied the nation from 1941 to 1944, when it was retaken by the Soviets.

Estonia declared independence from the Soviet Union in March 1990. Soviet resistance ensued, but after recognition by European and other countries, the Soviet Union acknowledged Estonian nationhood on Sept. 6, 1991. UN membership followed on Sept. 17. The newly independent nation embraced free-market reforms. Fueled by foreign investments, economic advances continued. In 2004, Estonia became a member of the European Union as well as of NATO.

Islamic History and Muslims

In the most recent census, performed in the year 2000, the number of people who reported themselves to be Muslims was 1,387. However some sources claim that the number of Muslims is much higher, with estimates given of 10,000 or even 20,000 Muslims.   

The Muslims are mainly Sunni Tatars and Shia Azeri whose ancestors immigrated to Estonia after the passing of Livonia and Estonia into the Russian Empire in 1721 and who (the overwhelming majority) immigrated during the Soviet period (1940–1991). Since 1860, the Tatar community started showing activity, the centre being in the city of Narva.

A Muslim congregation (Narva Muhamedi Kogudus) was registered there under the independent Republic of Estonia in 1928 and a second one (Tallinna Muhamedi Usuühing) in Tallinn in 1939. A house built for funds received as donations was converted into a mosque in Narva. In 1940, the Soviet authorities banned both congregations, and the buildings of the congregations were destroyed during World War II (in 1944).

There is a mosque in Tallinn, where an apartment is adapted for prayer purposes. In 1995 a second Islamic congregation was founded — the Estonian Mohammedian Sunni Congregation with a relatively small membership.

Muslims among various ethnic groups in Estonia
Volga Tatars (2,363)
Azeri (818)
Uzbek (394)
Kazakh (233)
Turkish (43)
Georgian (25)
Others (129)

Chief Imam: stop thinking about Muslims as violent people

Ildar Muhhamedchin, Chief Imam of the Islamic Congregation in Estonia, says that mass media is to blame for depicting Islam as a violent religion.
Speaking in the breakfast show of ETV, the Imam said that Islam was actually a very peaceful religion. “The reason why Islam has been shown as a violent religion by the mass media is that many troubles in the world are taking place in Muslim countries.

“This leads many to believe that Islam is a violent culture, but when people make a closer study of our religion they will understand that it is actually a religion of peace,” said the Imam. BBN reported yesterday that representatives of Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi have asked the City of Tallinn to provide land for building an Islamic religious and culture centre in Tallinn including a mosque.

Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, UAE Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, the third largest emirate of the United Arabian Emirates, plans to build the first Islamic centre in Estonia. The plan was unveiled in March by Jamal Al Taraifi, Director General of Sharjah Secretariat General for Auqaf during a meeting with visiting Muft of Estonia Eldar Muhammed Shun. Al Tarifi said the centre will be built in coordination with the Organisation of Islamic Conference.

  Islamic Centers and Organizations

Estonian Islamic Congregation. Sütiste 52-76, Tallinn, 0034, ESTONIA. Phone: 652-2403, General Information: Founded in 1928.

Mosque. J. Poska tn. 45-15, Tallinn, Harju 10150, ESTONIA. Phone: +372-6015220, Directions: Take a tram number 1 or 3 from City center (Viru tram-stop beside the main Post office and go in direction of Park Kadriorg). General Information: An apartment adapted for prayer purposes.

Islam in Estonian, All over Estonia, Tallinn, , ESTONIA. Email: info@islam.pri.ee,  Web: www.islam.pri.ee  General Information: Assalamu alikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh! - Here is a site explaining Islam in Estonian language, the first of it\'s own kind. We try to give sth to read to Muslims as well as non-Muslims. Marhaban! General Activities: We can also provide books about various things in Islam to those who are interested. We are providing non Muslims an informative overview about Islam in Estonian, for reconverted Estonian Muslims more specific information about Islam. As well free books about Islam for non-Muslims or converted Muslims.

  Muslim Owned Business

References
Islam in Estonia  ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam_in_Estonia  , October, 2008).
Info please ( http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0107501.html ,  October, 2008).
Islam Finder ( http://www.islamicfinder.org/cityPrayerNew.php?country=estonia   , October, 2008).
Chief Imam: stop thinking about Muslims as violent people ( http://www.balticbusinessnews.com/Default2.aspx?ArticleID=7d7cd572-0f5a-4d01-ad23-ac73bf3ec366&open=four , October, 2008).
Anonymous, Documents from Representatives of Islamic Organizations in Estonia , October 2008.