The History of Islam in Ukraine

The History of Islam in Ukraine

The Ukrainian Property Fund is a Swiss fund established in Zurich. It has started its work in Ukraine since 1997. Stepan Bandera – EuropeNews 

The first steps towards building a mosque on the territory of Ukraine were made in 1897. Muslims of that time were able to open a house of worship in Kiev on 5, Mirnaya Str. At the beginning of the 20th century the meeting house was moved to 4, Mirnaya Str., as recorded in the address book “All the Kiev” in 1909. The house of worship was a temporary option, since the idea was to build a mosque for 800 believers. The city newspaper “Kyiv Thought” on October 30, 1913 reported the laying of the first foundation stone of the mosque in 29, Gogol Str. But the planned construction of the mosque did not take place due to World War I, the revolution and subsequent events associated with it. Only in 1991 the mosque construction projectwas revived. The big goal of Muslims in Kiev, Ukraine was the construction of the first mosque. The organization DUMU (Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Ukraine) took care of that. Permission was granted Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Ukraine to use land for construction and maintenance of the memorial chapel building by the the Kiev state administration on February 5th, 1996. Construction of the mosque took place in stages, with money donated by Muslims of the city. Already after the first part –was completed in 1998, prayers were held on Fridays, holidays and other events. In 2000 the dome of the new mosque, called Ar-Rahma (Mercy), was inaugerated at half-moon, and from that day the prayer site was officially open. The mosque holds regular Friday prayers (Jumu’ah prayer) and holiday services. In late 2004, the Kiev City Administration decided to give land and a construction permit for an Islamic complex, which includes a mosque and Al-Rahma, housing of the DUMU, a madrassah and a minaret. How many mosques, Islamic educational institutions and other Islamic organizations exist in Ukraine? Over the past three years, the number of mosques in Ukraine has grown by some 50 %. This growth has primarily taken place in the Kherson region (south part of Ukraine). According to the State Committee, the Muslims of Ukraine have 238 religious buildings in the Crimea and 81 in other regions of the country. the network of Islamic religious organizations in Ukraine gained autonomy five times faster than in the Autonomic Republic of Crimea. In early 2008 the network included 133 organizations, in early 2011, 199. The Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Ukraine in Kiev includes the biggest number of organizations outside of the Crimea (111). The Spiritual Center of Muslims of Ukraine in Donetsk has 22 organizations. The Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Crimea in Simferopol, in addition to 959 organizations in the Crimea, has 8 organizations in other regions of Ukraine (the Kherson, Odesa and Zaporizhzhya regions). There are 2 organizations in Kiev: Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Ukraine (“Ummah”) and religious control of independent Muslim community (“Kiev muftiat”). Independent of those mentioned above, centres of Muslim communities account for 50 in the Crimea and 58 in other regions of Ukraine. The centres in Simferopol, Donetsk and Kiev differ, not only in ethnicity, but also by political orientation and creed. Political differences have long been observed between the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Crimea, covering mainly the Crimean Tatars, and the Donetsk Spiritual Center of Muslims of Ukraine in Donetsk, which focuses of Tatars living in Ukraine. The Donetsk Spiritual Center of Muslims of Ukraine originated with the Islamic community “Star of the Prophet,” which appeared in Donetsk in 1993. Akhat Bragin – at that time president of the Ukrainian football club “Shakhtyor” – was one of the founders of the community. In 1994, he sponsored the construction of the first mosque in the Donbass, “Ibn Fadlan”. In 1995, after the death of Bragin, the mosque was renamed “Akhat Jami”, and Rinat Akhmetov took over the funding. On his initiative, two mosque were built instead of one, one of them named in his honour, as shown on plaque of the minaret. The Ukrainian Islamic University is located on the first floor of the mosque – the first Islamic institution in Ukraine. The mosque, “Ahat Jami” and the Ukrainian Islamic University were officially inaugurated in 1999. Later 10 more mosques were build in the Donetsk and Lugansk areas (2000-2007). In 1997, the Party of Muslims of Ukraine was registered, headed by Rashid Bragin (a relative of the deceased Akhat Bragin), with headquarters in Donetsk. In 2002, the Party of Muslims of Ukraine did not participate in elections, but local organizations tacitly supported the bloc “For United Ukraine!”, while the Crimean Tatars were largely guided by “Our Ukraine” (Viktor Yushchenko). In the presidential election of 2004, the Party of Muslims of Ukraine supported Viktor Yanukovych, while the Majlis supported Viktor Yushchenko. In December 2005, the Congress of Party of Muslims of Ukraine decised to liquidate the party and merge it into the Party of Regions (Viktor Yanukovych). Rashid Bragin was elected as a deputy of the Donetsk City Council three times (2002, 2006 and 2010). The Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Ukraine in Kyiv was build in 1992. At this point, the chairman of the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Ukraine, mufti sheikh Ahmad Tamim, has the highest Islamic theological education (he graduated from the Theological Faculty of the Arab University of Beirut), a doctorate in theology and Ukrainian citizenship. In recent months, ideological issues flared between the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Crimea and Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Ukraine led by Ahmed Tamim, when Tamim appointed his Mufti of Crimea. This has led to serious conflict. The problem being that Tamim belongs to the habashis, prevalent in his ancestral Lebanon. Habashis began to actively penetrate into many regions of Ukraine, but remarkably so far there were no attempts to infiltrate the Donbass. Apparently, Ahmed Tamim is not ready to risk a “war” with the territory’s richest Ukrainians. In 2007, another centre was registered with all-Ukrainian status in opposition to the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Ukraine, – the “Kyiv muftiat”. It is headed by Kanaf Khusnutdinov, who is also rector of Islamic University of Kyiv, registered in early 2008. In September 2008, the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Ukraine was created on basis of the Ukrainian Association of NGO’s, “Alraid.” This association was founded in 1997 and originally focused on Ukrainian students from Muslim countries. Recently “Alraid” united Islamic cultural centers in Kyiv, Vinnytsya, Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk, Luhansk, Lviv, Odesa, Poltava, Simferopol, Sumy, Kharkiv and Chernivtsi. Muslim religious organizations in Ukraine: 1st of January, 2008 Crimea 998 The rest of Ukraine 140 Total 1138 1st of January, 2011 Crimea 1002 The rest of Ukraine 206 Total 1208 Ukrainian – Saudi-Arabian Union The UDC Holding (Universal Development & Construction Holding) is a holding company which controls several companies active in the real estate market in Ukraine since 1998. Preparation, organizational and structural coordination started at the beginning of 2008, and half a year later,UDC Holding was established. It comprises over 20 companies. Nowadays, the UDC Holding has projects mostly in Western and Central Ukraine, and has signed anagreement with the French company Accor, the biggest leader in hotels and tourism in the world. Also the company is a pioneer in Ukraine of using of green technology in buildings. The UDC cooperates with the German company Dress & Sommer. Financial components of the holding’s activities are provided from several sources: Income from accomplished objects, bank credits (though, at the present stage, we are reducing them as much as possible,) and cooperation with foreign and domestic investment funds. The Ukrainian Property Fund is a Swiss fund established in Zurich. It has started its work in Ukraine since 1997. The Accuro Asset Management, a part of the Accuro Group, Switzerland, controls the fund. This investment vehicle is the best for portfolio investors and ranks higly with foreign investors. Since autumn 2009, the UPF (as well as the projects that it finances) was certified for compliance with Shariah law, and a Shariah Board was established in the Company. Therefore, it may be mainly of interest to investors following the Islamic financial principles in their business. UCI International, IIFEF and Saudi Research & Marketing Company organized THE SAUDI INVESTOR WINDOW 2010, which took place in December 2010. Government representatives, international business leaders, project developers, and potential joint venture partners were represented. Investor Workshop and Showcase Presentation Topics include, but not limited to: – Real Estate – Banking and Finance – Manufacturing & Industrial – Energy and Renewable Energy – Pharmaceutical and Health Care – Fund and Asset Management Participation of Ukrainian companies in the Forum was approved by the Ministry of Economy of Ukraine, and receives support from the Embassy of Ukraine in Saudi Arabia. Among the representatives were politicians representing both government and opposition, and businessmen.

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