Muslims in Georgia: A Decade of Change

Second Part
By Aamir Latif, OnIslam Correspondent


Under the Soviet rule, religious education was nonexistent.

A brute majority of young Muslims did not have much knowledge about Islamic beliefs, and values. Islamic education was not available as Soviet rule emphasized on Marxism and later Leninism rather than religion in a bid to “create one nation”.

Things remained almost same even after demise of USSR, till the end of last century.

But situation has changed during last one decade. Women and men ( like the one who surprised us during the mosque visit as described in the  first part of this series article), who treat mosque like a church are not many in these days, no matter they do not turn up to offer five-time prayers, Ibrahim Mohammadove, a local businessman told OnIslam.net.

Ibrahim’s contention was later proved when various women covering their heads with scarves- some of them were even wearing Niqab, were seen dinning in various Turkish restaurants located at famous Marjanaswili street in central Tbilisi, though Turk waitresses of the restaurants were attired in tight western dresses.

“You will find both blends here, Ibrahim said with a soft smile on his bearded face.

“You can see women with Hijab, and in western dresses simultaneously. But they both go together”, he said.

Halal Food and Hajj

About religious education, Ibrahim said that translation of noble Qur’an in Georgian, Turkish and Russian languages are easily available in Tiblisi and other parts of the country.

Ibrahim, although, is not aware of any official religious seminary, however, believes that Turk Muslims  have made some private  arrangements where Qur’an is taught with translation.

Availability of Halal food is not a problem in Tibilisi, a city which otherwise is famous for variety of wine. Halal meat is available at almost all big super stores with a Halal trade mark in Arabic and Persian.

A few hundred Muslims go to Makkah to perform hajj every year, Haji Tahamais, who too visited the Holy Land in 2009 said.

This figure, he said, could be increased but the financial constraints hinder a number of Muslims to perform the fifth pillar of Islam.

“Do not compare us with Muslims living in a Muslim state. It’s like that, we are in initial stage.”

“ We have to go a long way to break the anti-religious foundations laid down by the Soviet rule, though there is no ban any more on visiting Mosques or learning Quran”, Tahamais maintained.

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