ISLAM and MUSLIMS IN
Republic of Moldova
National name: Republica Moldova
area: 12,885 sq mi (33,371 sq km); total area: 13,067 sq mi (33,843
Population (2007 est.): 4,320,490
Capital and largest city (2003 est.): Chisinau, 772,500 (metro. area),
709,900 (city proper)
Other large cities: Tiraspol, 209,800; Beltsy, 175,400; Bendery (Tighina),
Monetary unit: Leu
Languages: Moldovan (official; virtually the same as Romanian), Russian,
Gagauz (a Turkish dialect)
Ethnicity/race: Moldavian/Romanian 78.2%, Ukrainian 8.4%, Russian 5.8%,
Gagauz 4.4%, Bulgarian 1.9%, other 1.3% (2004)
Religions: Eastern Orthodox 98%, Jewish 1.5%, Baptist and other 0.5% (2000)
Literacy rate: 99% (2005 est.)
Economic summary: GDP/PPP (2007 est.): $9.821 billion; per capita
$2,900. Real growth rate: 5%. Inflation: 12.6%.
Moldavia) is a landlocked republic of hilly plains lying east of the Carpathian
Mountains between the Prut and Dniester (Dnestr) rivers. The country is
sandwiched between Romania and Ukraine. The area is a very fertile region with
rich black soil (chernozem) covering three-quarters of the territory.
Most of what is now
Moldova was the independent principality of Moldavia in the 14th century. In the
16th century it came under Ottoman Turkish rule. Russia acquired Moldavian
territory in 1791, and more in 1812 when Turkey gave up the province of
Bessarabia—the area between the Prut and Dniester rivers—to Russia in the Treaty
of Bucharest. Turkey held the rest of Moldavia but it was passed to Romania in
1918. Russia did not recognize the cession of this territory.
In 1924, the USSR
established Moldavia as an Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. As a result of
the Nazi-Soviet Nonaggression Pact of 1939, Romania was forced to cede all of
Bessarabia to the Soviet Union in 1940. The Soviets merged the Moldavia ASSR
with the Romanian-speaking districts of Bessarabia to form the Moldavian Soviet
Socialist Republic. During World War II, Romania joined Germany in the attack on
the Soviet Union and reconquered Bessarabia. But Soviet troops retook the
territory in 1944 and reestablished the Moldavian SSR.
For many years, Romania
and the USSR disputed each other's territorial claims over Bessarabia. Following
the aborted coup against Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev, Moldavia proclaimed
its independence in Sept. 1991 and changed its name to the Romanian spelling,
Islamic History and Muslims
In 2005 the Spiritual Organisation of
Muslims in Moldova headed by Talgat Masaev was denied registration despite of
the appeal of the Mission to Moldova of the Organisation for Security and
Cooperation in Europe. According to Islamic Human Rights
Commission, Moldova’s Muslim population have been subjected to discrimination
and harassment from the Moldovan government, including the refusal to recognise
and register Moldova’s Muslims.
Status of religion in post-independence Moldova
Moldova is a small republic sandwiched between Ukraine and Romania.
With independence from the former Soviet Union, Moldova did witness greater
religious freedom. Legislation passed in 1992 guaranteed religious freedom and
required that the government officially recognise all religious groups. Thus,
majority composite faiths, such as the Romanian Orthodox Church and the Russian
Orthodox Church, as well as the Jewish faith, have been afforded official
recognition, extending to state funding.
State refusal to recognise Moldova’s Muslims
However, Moldova’s minority Muslim community, estimated to be 3,000 strong,
have been repeatedly refused official recognition and registration by the
Moldovan government. This is despite the right to religious freedom and
toleration enshrined in Moldova’s constitution. Article 16 of the Moldovan
Constitution establishes the principle of equality before the law and public
authorities, irrespective of race, nationality, ethnic origin, language,
religion, etc. Article 10 guarantees all citizens the right to preserve, develop
and express their ethnic, cultural, linguistic and religious identity.
Furthermore, Article 32-3 of the Constitution stipulates that the law should
prohibit and punish instigation to ethnic, racial or religious hatred and
incitement to discrimination. Article 31 protects freedom of conscience,
including freedom of religion, while freedom of opinion and expression are
guaranteed by Article 32-1.
In 2002 Moldova’s Muslim community launched a challenge to this continual
denial through the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). The case is still
Government justification for state-sanctioned discrimination towards Moldova’s
The State Religious Service (SRS), a central authority reporting directly to
the Moldovan government, refused repeatedly to register the Spiritual Council of
Muslims of Moldova. In September 2000, Gh.Armasum, head of the SRS, justified
the refusal to register Muslim organisations on the basis that “97% of
population of Moldova is Christian”.
According to Serghei Ostaf, a human rights lawyer with the Moldavian Helsinki
Committee for Human Rights, the “government acts very much form a
Christian-biased position. Most of the recognised religious faiths are Christian
or Christian-derives”. The Spiritual Council of Muslims of Moldova also allege
that is was discriminated against because some of its members are Afghan and
Detentions of Muslims and Forced Mosque closures
On 27 July 2002 three leading Muslims, Talgat Masaev, leader of the
Spiritual Council of Muslims of Moldova, Rustam Ahsamov, head of ‘Calauza’, a
Muslim charitable organisation and Haisan Abdel-Rasul, a Sudanese citizen, were
detained at the headquarters of the Interior Ministry in the Moldovan capital
Chisinau over a summer camp to study Islam. According to Masaev no reasons was
given for their arrests, but were asked about links with “Islamic terrorism” and
Osama bin Landen. Masaev further added, “I was not beaten but the other two were
severely beaten - for no reasons. The officers behaved like bandits”.
Until recently Chisinau’s Muslim community rented three venues to hold
Friday prayers. Worshippers at all three venues had been subjected to state
harassment, checking their identities and filming those worshippers attending
prayers. In early 2002 two were shut down. Police raided the third on 26 July
2002 during Friday prayers, with the police taking the identity of all those
present. On the same day as the raid, Masaev was questioned alone at the
Interior Ministry and warned to end his attempts to register Moldova’s Muslim
community. Also, on the same day Ahsamov was questioned about the activities of
According to the Moldavian Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, other Muslims
were summoned for questioning by the Interior Ministry. Other forms of state
harassment and discrimination towards Moldova’s Muslims. In 2001 it was reported
that in the Transdniester region in eastern Moldova, the KGB (secret police)
In June 2002, the Moldovan Justice Ministry threatened to ban Muslim NGOs
(Non-Governmental Organisations), accusing them of spreading ‘Islamic
propaganda’. Other government organs refer to Islam as ‘Islamic cult’ and the
use of this terminology has become evident in certain sections of the Moldovan
media. Indeed, the Moldovan government has been vocal in its attacks on Islam.
In September 2002 an Interior Ministry press release proclaimed, “many societies
and non-government organisations have been created in the latest time in
Moldova, which aim mainly at making propaganda of Islamic culture and religion”.
The Interior Ministry claimed that no Muslim community existed in Moldova
justifying the official non-recognition of Islam. The Interior Ministry has also
claimed that the Moldovan police have discovered many improvised mosques in the
homes of foreign students. Also, the Romanian Missionary Society has proclaimed
Moldova’s Muslim population as the target of evangelical proselytising.
Political and media hysteria towards Muslims in Moldova
Post-9/11 parliamentary inquires conducted by extreme right-wing MPs have
made various unsubstantiated claims of the existence of ‘terrorists’ amongst
Muslims students of North African and Near Eastern origin at the International
Independent University of Moldova.
Intolerance towards Moldova’s Muslims is not just limited to the political
arenas, but has also found its way into the Moldovan media. A June 8 2001
article in ‘Dialog’, a weekly newspaper, entitled ‘Snares of the Sects’ attacked
the activities of Muslim humanitarian organisations and right-wing newspaper
‘Flux’ ran a number of anti-Muslim and anti-Arab articles.
IHRC concerns over the situation of Moldova’s Muslims.
IHRC lends it unreserved support to efforts to pursue state recognition and
equality through the ECHR. IHRC condemns the Islamophobia of the Moldovan
government and seeks to remind Moldovan authorities that there has been an
indigenous Muslim presence in Moldavia since Ottoman times. The obstinate
refusal to recognise Moldova’s Muslim population renders the constitution
useless, as the current stance of the Moldovan government effectively discards
IHRC calls upon the Moldovan government to recognise and register Moldova’s
Muslim population and end all forms of state-sponsored discrimination and
IHRC also expresses its concerns over the treatment of Afghani and Chechen
refugees. IHRC seeks to remind the Moldovan government of Article 19 of the
constitution entitling aliens and stateless persons to the same rights as
citizens of the Republic of Moldova, as well as its obligations under various
MUSLIMS IN MOLDOVA DESPERATELY REQUIRE HELP
*Please visit this brother's site & donate whatever
you can....you can donate by emailing him, Aaliyah*
I recently returned from a trip to Moldova in Eastern Europe. Before travelling
there I had done some basic research about the country and came across a few
articles about the situation of the Muslims there.
I read that they were facing serious problems due to the government not allowing
them to register Islam as a religion and therefore not granting them the freedom
to practise their religion. An article by the Islamic Human Rights Commission
summarises this (
I hadn't really thought much about these issues because I felt, like many
others, that enough people were already participating in efforts to help the
Muslims there and that it was not something that I could necessarily help with.
So upon arrival in Chisinau, the capital of Moldova, it was the last thing on my
Moldova is officially the poorest country in Europe as there is
virtually no industry and few job opportunities. The population is about 4.4
million of which approximately 3,000 are Muslims made up of various ethnic
groups from in and around the former Soviet Union.
Statistics indicate that 600,000 people have left Moldova to find work elsewhere
and the economy is sustained primarily by money sent back in remittances.
I met a Moldovan brother called Rustom Ahsanov and his family. They had all
accepted Islam in 2001. Their warmth, sincerity and genuine concern for the
Muslims in their country, as well as outside, was most impressive. This brother
has been trying to secure a place in Chisinau where Muslims can perform their
daily prayers, jumu'ah, and other basic Islamic activities and education. He has
managed to set up a charity organisation on ethnic grounds to perform these
activities on a limited level. Whilst this is not ideal, it is a start, and
allows the Moldovan Muslims to begin practising their religion without fear or
There is a small Arab community in Chisinau made up of foreign students from the
Middle East. As a result of this contact between the Arabs and the indigenous
Muslim population some financial assistance and guidance was provided that
allowed the centre to be run on a basic level. However, recently the Arab
community has isolated itself from the local Muslims and stopped providing any
assistance. Consequently, the place that was being used as the main Masjid in
Chisinau has been forced to close because the Muslims have not been able to pay
rent or bills for the last three months.
The only person taking the initiative and struggling to keep things moving is Br
Rustom. Alhamdulillah, he has managed to achieve much through his efforts but
there is much more that needs to be done.
It is essential that we, as Muslims living in the West, take some responsibility
and assist in whatever way that we can, whether it be financially, via legal
assistance, or by raising awareness of their plight. Copies of official
documents of the charity and its permission to use the premises are available,
as is correspondence with the European Court for Human Rights (EHRC) in trying
to place pressure on the Moldovan government to allow Muslims to practise their
religion in peace.
The landlord of the place where the Masjid is currently situated is demanding
payment and threatening to take legal action against Br Rustom. He is a brother
of modest means with a family to support.
It would be very sad indeed if we were to abandon him, because in doing so we
would be abandoning the Muslims of Moldova.
For more details and if you can help please contact Shehzad:
MOLDOVA: Muslims vow to defy "illegal" worship ban
By Felix Corley,
Forum 18 News Service, 11 March 2004
Police banned a
Muslim community in the capital Chisinau from meeting for worship after raiding
the place where they meet after Friday prayers on 5 March. They detained several
Muslims and three Syrian citizens were expelled from the country. "The
situations getting worse, with the police arriving at least every other week,"
community leader Talgat Masaev told Forum 18 News Service. He and a colleague
have been repeatedly fined for leading a community which does not have state
registration, although the fines so far have been overturned. Forum 18 has been
unable to find out from officials why police raid the Muslim community and have
refused it registration for the past four years. "They have the right to meet
without registration, provided they do not break the law, "human rights activist
Stefan Uritu insisted.
The leader of a
Muslim community in the capital Chisinau that has been repeatedly raided by the
police and ordered to halt its unregistered religious worship has vowed that it
will continue to hold prayers. "The situation is getting worse, with the police
arriving at least every other week," Talgat Masaev told Forum 18 News Service
from Chisinau on 11 March. "But we intend to go ahead with Friday prayers
tomorrow, Inshallah!" Last Friday (5 March) five police officers arrived after
prayers had finished and banned further meetings, claiming that gathering for
worship without state registration is illegal. Forum 18 was unable to find out
from officials of the Interior Ministry or the State Service for the Affairs of
Cults why police repeatedly raid the Muslim meeting place, why officials believe
meeting for worship without registration is illegal and why the State Service
has refused to register this Muslim community. Masaev said the Muslims meet for
worship in the offices of a local charity and some 50 were present for prayers
He complained that
during the raid the police had been rude to the Muslims and had offended them by
walking in the prayer room in their shoes despite being politely asked to take
them off. The police held several community members briefly, while three Syrian
citizens were taken to court and expelled from Moldova. Two others were briefly
detained for resisting the police, a charge Masaev rejected as a
"falsification". He said a cameraman accompanied the police and filmed without
the Muslims' permission. The film was shown in a report of the raid on the
private Pro TV channel on 10 March. An official of the State Service told Forum
18 on 11 March that its chairman, Sergei Yatsko, had already left for the day
and no-one else could comment on the raids on the Muslims or why the State
Service had repeatedly refused to register the Muslim community. Forum 18 was
unable to gain an explanation from any interior ministry officials.
Vasile Sterbet, head
of the ministry's international relations department, told Forum 18 on 11 March
that he did not have information about the case, although he insisted that"
everyone in Moldova has the right to worship". No-one was available in the
ministry's department for social order or the press centre. Iurie Spinu, a
department head at the Interior Ministry, told Pro TV that religious communities
must have registration in order to function. "Under Article 200 of the Code of
Administrative Offences, if such organizations are not registered,
administrative fines are applied. All police actions are being carried out in
accordance with provisions of the above article."
Masaev reported that
both he and fellow Muslim leader Rustam Akhsanov had been repeatedly tried under
Article 200, though both had so far been able to appeal successfully against the
fines imposed. Masaev told Forum 18 he is awaiting the result of his appeal
against the most recent fine of 20 times the minimum monthly wage, imposed by
the court of Chisinau's central district on 17February."Any person has the right
to pray to and preach about whichever God they believe in," Stefan Uritu,
chairman of the Moldovan Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, told Forum 18 from
Chisinau on 11 March. "They have the right to meet without registration,
provided they do not break the law." Asked why he believes the police threatened
them and banned them from meeting for worship if the law does not require
registration, he declared:
often regard themselves as above the constitution and above the law. "Uritu
maintained that Article 200 of the administrative code does not meet
international human rights standards and should be abolished. "The police have
used it against the Muslims as an argument to allow them to obstruct their
activity," he told Forum 18.A spokesperson for the Chisinau office of the
Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe told Forum 18 on 11 March
that it is following the Muslims' case and is seeking more information about
reports of the latest raid. The Muslim community first applied for state
registration in 2000, but the State Service returned the application without
considering it. Despite taking the case through the Moldovan courts the Muslim
community failed to gain registration and has now lodged a casewith the European
Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
registration so that they will leave us alone," Masaev insisted. The Muslims
seem to have little sympathy from Mikhail Sidorov, head of the parliamentary
commission on human rights and national minorities. He told Forum 18 on 11 March
that religious communities have to act according to the law and that if they
have any complaints about the State Service or the police they should challenge
the decisions through the courts. "The Muslims have not complained to us," he
community led by Mufti Alber Babaev and subject to the Russian-based Muslim
Central Spiritual Administration has likewise failed to get registration so far.
"Moldova is the only state in the European CIS where Islam is not officially
recognised as a faith," Babaev told Forum 18 from Chisinau on 11 March. "But I
believe the state will resolve this within the next few months, a s it wants to
join the European Union and the government is sensible." He said up to 300
Muslims regularly gather for Friday prayers at a rented facility in Chisinau,
with up to 2,000 on major festivals. He said they have had no problems with the
police or fines.
He said there are
about another ten communities of his jurisdiction in Moldova. Uritu speculated
that the authorities might be waiting to register Babaev's group until they have
crushed Masaev's group. "It is similar to the dispute within the Orthodox Church
between the Russian and the Romanian Churches, where the government supported
the pro-Russian Church," he declared. "Babaev is pro-Russian, while Masaev is
more oriented towards what I regard to be 'pure Islam'.
" The Bessarabian
Metropolitanate of the Romanian Orthodox Church only obtained registration in
Moldova after the European Court of Human Rights fined the government for
arbitrarily denying it registration.
The Society of Islamic Culture "ASSALAM" Moldova:
The Society of Islamic Culture "Assalam"
was founded in 1995. Since gaining independence, Moldova, have increased
international contacts, and in Moldova to study many students have come from
Muslim countries. In order to meet the needs of the faithful in spiritual
communion, a group of young enthusiasts united and organized the Society of
Islamic Culture "Assalam".
“Assalam” was created to ensure that Muslims living in Moldova, as well
as those who are interested in Islamic culture, could gain access to knowledge
about Islam in its pure form and know Islam as it is, without fiction and
Unfortunately, many judged solely on Islam for some «representatives» Islamic
world. We say that Islam is a religion of peace and reaffirm that every day
all their deeds and actions.
name of our society comes from the Arabic word «Salam» - «World».
is one of the most beautiful name of our Lord.
this title, we want to stress that came with the world.
We say Salam Alaykom (As-Salam) - Peace
the major challenges of our society unity of believers, as well as in the Holy
Koran says: 49.10. Truly, the faithful -
At our prayers and classes are most
people of different nationalities - Moldavians, Arabs, Tatars, Ukrainians,
Turks and all are perfectly common language. Any person can come and make sure
that this is Islam and affability cordiality.
Many educated people in Europe and
Moldova, long considered the cultural rights, get acquainted with the general
ledger Muslims - Holy Quran. Many famous figures of science and culture
studied the Koran, it is truly a great storehouse of wisdom and a source of
inspiration for people reflective.
Our goals are:
company "Assalam" is not inherently political and non-profit organization.
We want to show people that Islam is not a war and problems, as some want to
prove to the media. Islam - it is, above all, highly moral life, which
requires us to our God - the Almighty Allah. Our Prophet Muhammad (s.a.s.)
said - I came only to improve manners.
advocate the establishment and strengthening of family ties, we categorically
oppose the use of alcohol and drugs. We show which way the society can avoid
AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases. We are carrying out acts aimed at
combating trafficking in women and children (traffic).
We provide assistance to those who need it. And, of course, to ensure that all
this was done from the heart, we teach people piety and sincerity.
• Society "Assalam" holds weekly
traditional Muslim Friday prayer sermon in, during which the imam calls on
Muslims to godliness.
• Weekly lectures on Islamic culture and
lectures on studying the Koran for everyone.
• When a society acting courses in
• Every year during the month of
Ramadan, every day we ugoschaem believers and our guests.
• We celebrate the festive prayer and
celebration concert Razgoveniya and the Feast of Sacrifice.
• Perform folk festivals and national
costume presentation with representatives of Muslim countries.
promotes wishing to make a pilgrimage to Mecca fertile.
possible, society holds charity events.
We make gifts to
people with disabilities.
gifts to retirees.
• In warm seasons, we have carried out
for all comers nature hike, where we and our children can learn something new
about Islam and improve their morale, as well as a good time playing football,
We ask the Lord of heaven and earth to facilitate us to our
call for good and for peace, and that we heard as many people as possible. We
ask him, that he opened the eyes of the people, and they saw the true light of
We ask him to help us distinguish good from evil, and are
looking for him refuge and protection from the evil of our cases and the evil
of our souls. O Allah bless our Prophet Muhammad and his family and his
associates, and all those who followed him. (
Islamic Centers and Organizations
جمعية الثقافة الإسلامية, 25 P.O.
Box 940, Chisinau, MD 2025, MOLDOVA. Phone: 00373 79474711, Fax:
00373 22503266, Email:
firstname.lastname@example.org , URL:
www.assalam.md , Directions: جمعية الثقافة الإسلامية " السلام"، هي
الجمعية الثقافية الإسلامية الأولى في ملدوفا ، تأسست عام 1994 ، تعنى بنشر الثقافة
الإسلامية في ملدوفا وبتربية النشئ على مبادئ الدين الحنيف حيث يتواجد ما يقارب الـ
15000 ألف مسلم في ملدوفا، بخلاف التوافد العربي المكون غالبيته من الطلاب ، حوالي
3000 طالب ، الجمعية عضو اتحاد المنظمات الإسلامية في أوروبا. General
Information: Societatea de Cultura Islamica "ASSALAM" din Republica Moldova.
Studierea culturii, religiei islamice, studierea si organizarea de lectii spre a
aduce la cunostinta tuturor, ce spune Islamul,modul liber de viata, istoria
aparitiei, aparitiei lui. studierea limbii Coranului (araba)etc. Sustinerea
studentilor straini musulmani veniti la studii si a locuitorilor musulmani
Muslim Owned Business
Islam in Moldova (
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam_in_Moldova , October, 2008).
Info please (
http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0107787.html , October, 2008).
Islam Finder (
Briefing: Moldova's Unofficial Muslims (
http://www.ihrc.org.uk/show.php?id=677 , October, 2008).
Anonymous, Documents from Representatives of Islamic Organizations in Moldova,