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Jamada al-Awwal 9,1435/March 9, 2014 # 10
Scroll to end
for photo of Agha Khan. See report below.
Ukraine and Crimea: Putin has tied Obama into knots. Owing
to US aggression in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and
Somalia, and support for Israel, Obama has no moral backbone
to stand against Putin. However, Muslims should remember,
Russia is no friend of ours. Remember its role in
Afghanistan, Syria, Chechnia and Ingushetia. Almost
forgotten is its cataclysmic role against the Muslim Tatars.
Br. Athar brings us a stark reminder.
Please scroll to the end.
Activism in Houston, Texas, Pakistani Community.
March 7: Jamaat al-Muslimeen info was given to 55 Muslims at
the Islamic Society of Greater Houston. The items included a
report on the fighting in Syria, plus Munawar Hasan and
Sirajul Haq on the need for peace talks and Sharia, plus
Wolf Blitzer's support for the government on CNN, plus
"Queen" Latifah's support for homosexuality and Dr. Ayman
al-Zawahiri's message for the Muslims of Bangladesh.
Outreach: Br. Kaukab's Latest Khutba
Sahaba, r.a., are the greatest Muslims after the Prophet,
Role Models for us.
On March 7, Dr. Kaukab Siddique gave the khutba at masjid
Jamaat al-Muslimeen in Baltimore, Maryland. Here are the
Text: "The vanguard (of Islam)- the first of those who
forsook (their homes) and of those who gave them aid, and
(also) those who follow them in (all) good deeds,-
well-pleased is Allah with them, as are they with Him: for
them hath He prepared gardens under which rivers flow, to
dwell therein forever: that is the supreme felicity."
There is no one greater in Islam after the Prophet, pbuh,
than the sahaba, r.a.No one is praised more in the Qur'an
[except for the prophets].
His companions, male and female, suffered the worst
persecution with him in Makka and did the first migration to
Africa led by Usman, r.a., and Ruqayya, r.a.
When the whole world seemed to turn against the Prophet,
pbuh, some enlightened people of Madinah secretly met him.
They recognized in him the signs of prophethood indicated in
the old scriptures of the Jews.
Then a second larger group came, again secretly, and did
bayat [oath of allegiance] on his hand unto death if
When the sahaba, r.a, of Makka migrated to Madinah, the
local Muslims offered them half of all they had but the
migrants refused and only took loans to earn their own
Biggest suras of the Qur'an were revealed in Madinah and
Muhammad, pbuh, urged young people to learn writing so that
they could write down the increasing revelations of the
The Muslims were very peaceful people but the oppressors
would not let them live in peace even in Madinah. Allah then
made jihad obligatory on them and they had to learn how to
The battle of Badr was the turning point in the history
of mankind. The heavily armed oppressors were badly
defeated by the poorly armed Muslims.
The muhajerin from Makka and the Ansar of Madinah became
the backbone of the Islamic movement.
The third category "those who follow them" should not be
ignored. These included the greatest fighters for Islam who
were once enemies of Islam, like Khalid, r.a., Muawiyya,
r.a., and even Abu Sufian, r.a., and Ikrima, r.a., the son
of the Abu Jahl, the arch enemy of Islam.
The greatest empires of those times could not stand
against Islam for three reasons:
The Muslims had the Quran and the Sunnah, knew they were
on the right path and were ready to sacrifice themselves and
all they had for Allah.
The women, even in enemy camps, knew Islam was on their
side, and flocked to embrace Islam to get rid of male
The empires were based on slavery. The slaves came to
know that Islam recognized only Allah as Lord and Master and
that slavery was the opposite of Islam. The example of
Bilal, r.a., turned all of West Africa to embrace Islam.
Letter: The Grave of Umm Hurum bint Milhan, r.a., in Cyprus
Definitely not revered by Christians
Shoaib Haroon Qureshi [UK]
Breaking News: Syria
March 7: Al-Nusra and ISIL forces have re-entered Yarmouk,
the vast Palestinian refugee camp on the outskirts pf
Damascus. Assad had allowed refugees to leave in exchange
for handing over the camp to his secularist Palestinian
supporters who are no match for the mujahideen.
In the south, Deraa province, mujahideen are advancing on
heavily fortified Assad positions in Tal al-Jabiyeh which
are reportedly repositories of chemical weapons. Jordan has
warned the fighters that if they capture the deadly weapons,
there will be an Israeli air strike on them. Assad's troops
are in full retreat. [New Trend has pointed out previously
that Israeli air strikes are not against Assad but are meant
to stop mujahideen from capturing Assad's weapons.]
In the central Syrian city, Raqqa, under ISIL, dhimma tax
has been offered to the Christian minority in exchange for
security and the Christians have accepted it.
On Assad's supply route from Damascus to the Alawite
stronghold of Latakia, Assad's forces have captured the tiny
village of Zara where the Islamic defenders were heavily
outgunned and under air attacks before they withdrew.
The opposition FSA coalition which has the support of the
West has appointed a new commander, Abdul Ilah al-Bashir, to
replace Idris. It is expected that the new commander will
instill Islamic spirit among his fighters and join
mujahideen groups to carry the fight to Assad.
Several thousand European Muslims, some of them converts,
are now in Syria, helping the mujahideen and caring for
those wounded in air attacks. French analysts are very
worried that among them are young women and even girls.
Their analysis is that Assad's propaganda offensive
supported by Iran and Zionist media, has failed. Young
Muslims, they say, are watching jihad web sites.
[As New Trend pointed out Caralucci, Chodavoski, Fisk, Lamb
and other orientalists have been trying to smear the
mujahideen as "Saudi paid agents." Their latest failure is
that Saudi Arabia has declared al-Nusra and ISIL as
terrorist groups and has warned Saudi youths fighting in
Syria to come home within 15 days or face drastic
Our America: New York
Muslim who defended himself, Charged!
by Sis. 'Aisha [New York City.]
I have a story here that I never heard of until now. It is
very interesting how the prison industrial complex,
capitalism, and racism play a key role in America's downward
spiral. This downward spiral can only be stopped in its
tracks by the oppressed. We cannot afford to wait for the
oppressor, nor their future generations, to see the error of
his/her ways and atone for it. The story is below:
Huntington Station, New York - In August 2013, four men
illegally entered the home of Youssef Abdel-Gawad and his
family. One of the men shot at the Gawad family inside the
home and all four men ran. Youssef picked up his shotgun
and, with two of his brothers, ran after the men. Youssef
shot the man who shot into his home, Jazzmen Bryant - the
In March 2014, the Huntington Station New York prosecutor
has decided to charge Youssef Abdel-Gawad with manslaughter
and criminally negligent homicide because the perpetrator
was shot in the back. According to the prosecutor, this
means that the perpetrator was running away from the scene.
No consideration is being given to him for returning fire
after having been fired upon himself. Thomas J. Spota is the
district attorney for Suffolk County, which is where this
case will be tried.
Many prosecutors work very hard to derail cases against
police criminals. Police officers have escaped conviction in
cases where they handcuffed and shot unarmed suspects or
unarmed suspects running away from them. These cases were
and still should be winnable convictions against police
criminality were it not for prosecutorial misconduct.
Jurors need to understand their power in these instances.
Jurors send a powerful message to legislators and the
prosecutors who enforce their ridiculous laws when they
refuse to convict in these instances involving civilians. I
will keep everyone posted, insha'allah.
Extreme Right Wing Government Welcomes Extremist Ismaili
Agha Khan is infiltrating Pakistan with large funds:
In with Nawaz Sharif, Karzai, Hosni Mubarak
On February 27, Agha Khan, leader of the Ismaili cult, got a
huge welcome from the Canadian establishment and right wing
government led by Prime Minister Harper. Here is how the
notoriously anti-Islamic Toronto Star described the
hysterical reception for the Agha Khan:
"He was welcomed with repeated standing ovations in the
packed House of Commons. The audience in the galleries
included many Ismaili Muslim representatives invited for the
It should be noted that Harper has numerous Muslima in his
prisons. Even the families of the prisoners have been
isolated and threatened.
Canada's troops are among the occupation forces of NATO in
Afghanistan. They have killed scores of Afghans and suffered
casualties and also committed atrocities.
Agha Khan does not support ANY Islamic movement, peaceful or
armed. Instead he was a friend of the Egyptian tyrant, Hosni
Mubarak, has vited Karzai in Kabul, and very recently
sneaked into Pakistan for a secret meeting with Nawaz
Sharif. Ismaili communities have been set up in the northern
areas of Pakistan and Kashmir, Gilgit, Baltistan, etc, as
well as in northern Afghanistan and Tajikistan. Agha Khan
has been pumping big money into these strategic areas.
Now he has received unqualified support from Canada. Tens of
thousands of Ismailis have settled in Canada.
This is only one example of a western power supporting a
minority which sees Muslims as aliens. In recent years, Agha
Khan is using fake names have been attacking the Qur'an,
abusing the sahaba, r.a., and insulting the wives of the
Prophet, pbuh. The Internet is rife with these Ismaili
Hail Marshall Eddie Conway
Black Panther Leader released after 44 years. Was framed in
Conflict with police.
by Nadrat Siddique [A long time activist for Eddie's
Welcome back to Mob Town aka Baltimore, Br. Marshall Eddie
Conway. You were locked up in 1971, the very year Nixon
announced the start of the "Drug War." That year, fewer than
200,000 people were held in state and federal prisons.
Today, there are more than 2.4 million, an increase of more
than 700 percent.
Br. Eddie, by the mid-1990s, over half of the young Black
men in Baltimore were under the ..."supervision" of the
criminal-justice system--that is, in a jail or prison, on
probation or parole, or under pretrial release (compared
with one in three nationally). (Crime and Punishment in
America, by Elliott Currie). Today the figures are even more
disproportionately skewed against Black men.
In 1971, there were two prisons in Baltimore, the Baltimore
City Jail (now known as the Baltimore City Detention Center)
and the Maryland Penitentiary (now known as the Metropolitan
Transition Center). Today there are nine. All of these,
including the two extant when you were a Panther in
Baltimore, were built under the watchful eye of the Black
Democratic politicians (Uncle Toms) in power. The same
politicians were pushing for a tenth and eleventh
prison--specifically to warehouse Black youth and women
respectively. The Youth Prison initiative was defeated in
January 2013, at least for the time being, as a result hard
organizing by the People.
My dear brother, today in your hometown, Black men are
profiled, gunned down, or beaten to a pulp by a half a
dozen/dozen cops. The situation reminds me of Gaza, a
situation with which I am far more familiar. An environment
of (police-inspired) terror and despondency exists for
Baltimore's Native Black population, while the Settlers
(usually wealthy White transplants to Baltimore, the result
of gentrification) live comfortably in million dollar homes
in the "clean" parts of the city. Black youth are locked up
for years on very minor, non-violent offenses (average
sentences, based on mandatory sentencing laws, are seven
years in such cases). All of this occurs with the tacit
approval of the Democratic Governor (a Black democrat), the
City Council (mostly Black Democrats), and the States
Attorney (a White Jewish Democrat).
They call you the "Leader" of Baltimore. What do you propose
to do now, and what advice/ admonitions do you have for the
Muslim World "As if is Shaitan's Game"
by Shaukat Khan [North Carolina]
everywhere in the world today
muslims are always planning and toiling
acting like we have something in the say
of our worldly destiny
we are billions by numbers and counting
spread across in seventy countries barely surviving
yet we are treated as a handful in a small hive
because the power to be know the muslims lost their sting
the muslim world's is bee hive
rich in manpower and resources
which the world collects from us diligently
and leaves the muslim world starving
muslims are becoming weary of leaders
foolishly building and spoiling again
as if it is shaitan's game
to keep muslims away from their Islamic aim
I just dream for that serene river
where I dreamt my life away
for the powers to be
have trained muslim well indeed
that a dreamer lives forever in a game
and a toiler just dies away
so the muslims are kept busy
and away from the aim
here I sit as an example by life's flowing river
from where I see the muslim world eat itself away
though a muslim should aspire to be with Allah forever
contemporary Iman dies in a day
I am sick of the showy muslims contemporary
of a life built on shaitan's scheme
that is half a lie
of faces lined with scheming
from the dreamer thoughts endeavor
how we have made our Islam just a show and play
muslims contemporary lives to dream another day
while a muslim thinker dies every day
in muslims contemporary I feel no pride, but pity
while the muslims have been blessed with resources galore
only the rich enjoy the life in the city
while patient lives the poor must endure
let me dream as an old man by that river
and be loved as I dream away
for a dreamer lives forever
and a toiler dies in a day
The Passing of Chokwe Lumumba
From Mustafa Ansari [Atlanta]
Chokwe Lumumba was a great person, lawyer, Mayor, and
comrade. I am at a lost for words right now. He will be
Chokwe Lumumba, legendary Black Liberation activist and
recently elected Mayor of Jackson, Mississippi has passed
away. He was 66. There will be much to say about Chokwe and
his immense contributions in the coming days, but for now we
wish to extend our deepest sympathies to his family and
comrades. Chokwe Lumumba, presente!
There is speculation that Chokwe Lumumba was Murdered. Why
was he controversial?
Lumumba finished first in his law school class and graduated
cum laude from Wayne State University Law School in 1975.
While there he created the Malcolm X Center and was a
staff attorney in the Detroit Public Defenders Office. He
formed a law firm in Detroit in 1978 and successfully
defended 16 prisoners who faced murder charges after a riot
in a Pontiac, Illinois, prison. He was initially barred
from representing Cynthia Boston, known as Fulani Sunni Ali,
a member of a revolutionary group charged in a Brink's
robbery case; she was jailed on $500,000 bond. Many national
legal groups protested the barring of Lumumba from
representing the prisoner and the characterization of him as
a terrorist due to his membership in the Republic of New
Africa. In 1983 while handling the Brink's case he was
held in contempt by the federal judge for his press
He worked on the Geronimo Pratt case and encouraged black
youth to eschew gang activities and participate in global
actions such as protesting apartheid in South Africa. The
1980s witnessed a large increase in the number of imprisoned
African-Americans in the United States. In September
1987 at Harvard Law School, as a co-founder of the National
Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America, Lumumba
addressed a conference sponsored by the National Conference
of Black Lawyers regarding the constitutional neglect of the
needs of enslaved persons.[clarification needed]
In 1988 he returned to Jackson, Mississippi and three years
later was granted the right to practice law. He was a public
defender on contract with the City of Jackson's consortium
to represent the indigent citizens of the municipality. In
1994 Lumumba sued to have a public defender contract
voided. In 2000 Judge Swan Yerger dismissed a lawsuit
filed against a police officer and Lumumba was publicly
reprimanded by the Mississippi Bar after the judge found him
in contempt. In a Leake County case he was found in contempt
and publicly reprimanded. After an unsuccessful appeal to
the Mississippi Supreme Court, he served three days in the
county jail when bond was refused. He also lost his license
to practice law for six months. A human rights and
criminal defense attorney, he was licensed to practice in
both Michigan and Mississippi.
Saudi Arabia Opens Up to Oppressed Muslim Communities around
By Anwar Niazi
LAHORE, Mar. 4: The three day Islamic Solidarity Conference
concluding at Makkah on Tuesday, has impressed upon the
Muslim Ummah to side with the oppressed everywhere and try
its best to prevent the oppressor from tyranny.
According to reports received from the JI delegation
attending the moot, the conference discussed in detail the
problems besetting the Ummah and the scholars and the Ulema
highlighted different aspects of the issue under
The delegation from Pakistan included Ameer, JI, Pakistan,
Syed Munawar Hasan, Mufti Rafi Usmani, Prof. Sajid Meer,
Abdur Rashid Turabi, Abdul Ghaffar Azis and others.
Expressing deep concern over the bloodshed going on in Syria
for the last three years, the conference noted that the
world powers had only paid lip service to the issue and had
been watching the killings in cold blood.
It noted that Iran was still supporting tyrant Bashar al
Asad although more than one lakh people had been killed in
Syria and millions had left the country.
The leaders attending the moot expressed grave concern over
the victimization and executions of the opposition leaders
in Bangladesh on false charges.
Discussing the Kashmir issue, a member of the Saudui Majlis
e Shoora Dr Sadqah Fazil, and others noted that there were
several resolutions on the Kashmir issue at the
international bodies but these had been shelved as had been
the case of Palestine.
JI Director Foreign wing, Abdul Ghaffar Aziz, spoke on the
issue of Kashmir, Syria, and Bangladesh besides Dr Aafia
Siddiqui, who had been jailed on false charges.
The conference condemned the bloodshed of the Muslims going
on in Burma, Central Africa, Yemen, and Lebanon.
But Saudi Arabia Sees some Muslims as a threat & tries "Divide and Rule."
Moves against Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Nusra and ISIL.
[From New York Times, March 7]
CAIRO — Saudi Arabia on Friday declared the Muslim
Brotherhood a terrorist organization, escalating a new
campaign against the group across the region with a sweeping
ban that imposes lengthy prison sentences for even
expressing sympathy with it.
The Saudi decree equates the Brotherhood, which has long
denounced violence, with widely designated terrorist
organizations, including Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, the Islamic
State of Iraq and Syria and the Syria-based Nusra Front. The
inclusion of the Brotherhood appeared to signal the
beginning of a Saudi effort to eradicate the group,
demonstrating the deepening polarization that is spreading
across the region after the Egyptian military's ouster of
President Mohamed Morsi, a Brotherhood leader, last summer.
The decree was the Saudi monarchy's latest gesture of
support for attempts by the new military-backed government
in Egypt to crush the Brotherhood. But it was also a pointed
message to a neighboring Persian Gulf state, Qatar, which
has provided refuge and support to Egyptian Brotherhood
leaders since the takeover. Consistently sympathetic
coverage of the Brotherhood by the Qatari-owned news network
Al Jazeera has outraged Cairo and the other gulf monarchies.
The Saudi royal family has always viewed the Muslim
Brotherhood with apprehension, fearing its rival blend of
Islam and politics as well as its avowed embrace of
democracy. The Saudi government prefers to align itself with
a more puritanical approach to Islam, Salafism, which
teaches heavy deference to Muslim rulers. But Brotherhood
members living in Saudi Arabia have not usually felt the
need to hide their affiliation for fear of arrest.
Since Mr. Morsi was deposed, though, the Saudi monarchy
seems to have embarked on an all-out campaign against the
group. As the dominant force in the gulf, Saudi Arabia
appears to have led a campaign against Qatar over its
support of the Islamists. This week, Saudi Arabia, the
United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt withdrew their
ambassadors from Doha, Qatar's capital, in protest. Saudi
Arabia and other gulf states donated more than $12 billion
to the military-backed government in Cairo almost
immediately after it removed Mr. Morsi.
The decree's scope remained a puzzle. It was unclear if
Saudi Arabia meant to extend the terrorist label to every
affiliate or ally of the Brotherhood in the region. That
would include the prime ministers of Turkey and Morocco, the
leading party in Tunisia, and recognized opposition parties
in Jordan and Bahrain. Some analysts asked if the Saudis
would jail Islamist public officials from those countries if
they visited, say, on a pilgrimage to Mecca.
Saudi Arabia is also a close ally of the Syrian Muslim
Brotherhood in their shared battle against President Bashar
al-Assad of Syria. And less than two years ago, King
Abdullah of Saudi Arabia met in Riyadh with Mr. Morsi on his
first foreign trip after his election. The United States and
other Western countries do not consider the Brotherhood a
In a statement issued by its London office, the Brotherhood
said it was surprised and distressed by the decree. Unlike
the militant groups listed, the Brotherhood said it never
declared any government to be "infidel" or a legitimate
target of violence. "The Brotherhood takes no stance of
enmity or confrontation with the state, but rather acts as
an adviser or a guider," it said.
"The Muslim Brotherhood also cooperates with all nations
politically in order to achieve common goals, such as having
a dignified and free life," the group said.
Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi commentator, noted in an interview
with the Saudi-owned news network Al Arabiya that the
Brotherhood was the only organization on the terrorist
blacklist that was not an armed group.
"What are the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood in the
kingdom?" he asked. "These are not so easy to describe, and
the authorities will need to answer the question of how they
plan to respond to the group."
American Muslimahs Celebrate International Women's Day
by Sis Hadayai Majeed [Atlanta, Georgia]
Celebrating International Women's Day and saluting some of
the wonderful, ambitious, giving and caring women and girls
I have the pleasure of personally knowing. Girls who excel
academically under great odds, Muslim Girls Scouts, Muslim
women who work hard, give a lot and do not want or ask for
any recognition, Muslim women activist, moms who read
stories to children at home and at local events. Moms who at
great sacrifice stay home to nurture their children during
the early stages of their development.
I will be doing this several more times today. I ask that
you re-post this when you see it. I have just begun to go
through my personal photo collection online. If you do not
see yourself this time you probably will before the day it
over, in shaa Allah.
Munawar Hasan's Umra & Successful Visit to Saudi Arabia
He insiated on Focusing on Egypt along with other
LAHORE, Mar. 7: Ameer, Jamaat e Islami, Pakistan, Syed
Munawar Hasan, has welcomed the government decision to have
direct talks with the Taliban, and said this was the right
way to ensure the success of the talks.
He was talking to the media men at the Lahore Airport on
return from a week long visit to Saudi Arabia where he
attended the conference of the Islamic movements held under
the aegis of the Rabita al Alam Islami.
The JI chief said that direct talks between the government
and the Taliban were essential for making the talks
fruitful. He also urged the Taliban to assist the government
in tracing the groups involved in terrorist activities to
ensure peace in the area.
Replying to a question, he said that armed forces were an
institution under the government, and the government had the
authority to utilize the forces and their agencies wherever
it thought necessary. He said the armed forces should also
be taken into confidence regarding the talks.
The JI chief said that the whole nation wanted the talks to
succeed, and added that the elements who did not consider
the talks solution of any issue, were actually working on
the foreign agenda to plunge the country and the nation into
a plethora of problems. He said the government decision to
go for direct talks was based on prudence and
Syed Munawar Hasan said that the three day Islamic movements
moot held at Makkah had discussed the common line of action
to end the oppression and tyranny on the Muslims all over
the world, bringing an end to terrorism, stopping bloodshed
of the Muslims in Egypt, Syria, Bangladesh, Kashmir,
Palestine and Burma. The leaders of the Islamic movements
also expressed the hope that the talks between the Pakistan
government and the Taliban would bear fruit. The moot also
prayed for the restoration of peace all over the world
including Pakistan, and for the failure of the enemy
intreagues against the Muslims.
The JI chief said that India was involved in subversive
activities going on in Balochistan through Afghanistan, and
added that the security agencies had solid proof of that. He
said it was time that the government and the people
recognized their enemy.
During his visit to Saudi Arabia, Syed Munawar Hasan
addressed the Pakistanis in Makkah and Madinah and also
Agha Khan, Westernized Ismaili leader claims that he is the
descendant of Ali, r.a., and Incarmation of the original
imamat coming from Ali, r.a. He is hardly distinguishable
from his non-Muslim supporters.
The Agha Khan (centre) met with Prime Minister Stephen Harper
and his wife Laureen on Thursday before addressing the House
of Commons, where he spoke in both official languages.
FRED CHARTRAND / THE CANADIAN PRESS
The Agha Khan (centre) met with Prime Minister Stephen Harper
and his wife Laureen on Thursday before addressing the House
of Commons, where he spoke in both official languages.
The saga of Crimean Tatars
by Mohiuddin Athar [Canada]
It reminds us of the extermination of native Indians in
Americas. The so called father of Turks-Ata Turk was leader
of TurKey after the collapse of Ottoman Empire which was
next door to Crimea in Black sea but turned his back on his
own ethnic kin. Crimean Tatars are Turkic origin and speak a
Turkish dialect. So much for fake Turkish nationalism which
was watershed event in Muslim world and later spread among
Arabs and others. And same goes for Muslim countries that
dot the landscape today. Please note Iran has consistantly
supported the war criminal Putin at every juncture.
As the international crisis over Crimea's status escalates,
the fate of the Crimean Tatars has been nearly absent from
the discussion. The West has essentially accepted a
manipulation of history: According to the Russian narrative,
Crimea is a traditional Russian territory with an
overwhelming Russian population, whimsically transferred to
Ukraine by Nikita Khrushchev in 1954. To accept this version
is to negate the histories of non-Russian peoples, above all
Crimean Tatars, and tacitly sanction Russian aggression,
which may lead to consequences beyond Ukraine's borders.
]Since ancient times, many peoples have populated Crimea,
including Armenians, Greeks, Jews, Mongols, Slavs and Turks.
However, only the Crimean Tatars have Crimea as their only
homeland; their presence and rule predates the Russians by
centuries. As a distinct ethnic group, they can be traced to
the early 15th century and the formation of the Crimean
Khanate, a successor state to Genghis Khan's empire. For
almost 350 years, the Crimean Khanate, under the protection
of the Ottoman Empire, was a major power in Eastern Europe,
controlling the northern Black Sea steppes. The Russian
Empire eliminated the state of the Tatars in 1783, contrary
to guarantees it pledged in the Treaty of Kuchuk Kainardja
So what happened to the Crimean Tatars and where did the
Russians and Ukrainians come in? The Tatars fought both with
and against their Ukrainian Cossack neighbours. After Russia
conquered Crimea, it launched a massive colonization of
Slavic settlers. Russia continued to reduce the Tatar
population, decreasing it by two-thirds over the course of
the 19th century through forced migration to the Ottoman
Empire. The modern-day presence in Turkey of millions of
people of Tatar descent explains Turkish concern over the
current situation. Finally, in 1944, Joseph Stalin deported
the entire Crimean Tatar population in cattle cars, dumping
them in Central Asia under the pretext of supposed
collaboration with Nazi Germany. About half of the 225,000
deportees perished from hunger and the elements.
This act of genocide opened the way for the settlement of
additional, mostly Russian, colonists in Crimea. In the late
1980s, Tatars began returning to Crimea and found their
homes irrevocably lost to the new settlers. They resigned
themselves to the situation and to coexistence with the new
settlers, who did not always welcome their return. Despite
these hardships, the experience of the Crimean Tatars under
Russian rule was so traumatic that for them, the possibility
of Crimea's return to Russia, raised Thursday in plans for a
quick referendum on that prospect, is appalling. They remain
staunch supporters of Ukraine.
Between the ethnic cleansing of the Crimean Tatars and
colonization, Russians eventually became the dominant
population in Crimea. As of the 2001 census, the population
was just over two million: 58 per cent Russians, 24 per cent
Ukrainians and 12 per cent Crimean Tatars. (The Tatar
proportion will have since risen due to migration and birth
rate.) Russians hardly constitute a "vast majority," as is
often stated in the media.
There are two more myths Russia invokes to justify its
occupation of Crimea. The first is that Crimea is a land of
"Russian glory sanctified with Russian blood" because Russia
conquered it in the 18th century and retook it from the
Germans in the Second World War. This article of faith
disregards the fact that both the Russian and Soviet empires
were multinational states whose armies included plenty of
non-Russians - the blood of Ukrainians and other ethnicities
was spilled in the wars against the Ottoman Empire and the
The second relates to the transfer of Crimea from the
Russian to the Ukrainian Republic in 1954. The story goes
that Khrushchev, bypassing all legal norms, single-handedly
gifted the peninsula to Ukraine to commemorate its 300th
anniversary with Russia and earn points with the Ukrainian
Communist Party in his struggle for power. (Actually, the
Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union passed a law that sealed
the transfer.) Rarely mentioned are economic motivations.
The Second World War devastated Crimea and Khrushchev was
particularly troubled by the abysmal pace of recovery. The
Ukrainian Republic's aid was seen as crucial, particularly
in bringing water from the mainland to the arid peninsula.
Ukrainian resources were a key to the recovery.
Lamentably, Russian myths about Crimea's past are being
allowed the role of a full-fledged actor in the current
crisis. Ukrainians have their narrative as well. All nations
have heroic myths, but when an exclusivist myth is invoked
in an international conflict, it must be understood for what
it is, rather than accepted as a legitimizing factor for
aggression. The Tatar voice desperately needs to be heard,
both as a matter of justice and as a matter of prudence, to
avoid a new grievance in the Muslim world. In accepting the
Russian narrative, the West may contribute not only to the
triumph of oppression over justice, but to war over
Victor Ostapchuk is an associate professor in the department
of Near and Middle Eastern civilizations at the University
of Toronto, specializing in the history of the Black Sea
region and Crimean Khanate.
2014-03-09 Sun 10:28:47 cdt