25 September 2010
A holiday commemorating the introduction of Islam into Russia has just been approved in the Russian republic of Tatarstan.
The new holiday will be on 21 May of each year and marks the adoption of Islam by the Volga Bulgars, the ancestors of the present-day Tatars, in 922.
The new law was adopted by an overwhelming majority of the Tatarstan parliament(79 – "For", 1 - " Against"). In addition, it was decided to make a holiday of Eid al-Fitr.
Originally, the commemoration day was supposed to become a national holiday for all of Russia, after Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on 1 June this year signed a law introducing a national holiday on
July 28 each year to commemorate the adoption of Christianity in 988.
However, the initiative for the Muslim holiday got bogged down in disagreements between Tatars and North Caucasus Muslims on the date Islam was first established in Russia.
Volga Bulgars adopted Islam in the 10th century, while clerics in Daghestan claim that Islam appeared in the North Caucasus as early as the seventh century.
Tatarstan is one of the largest and most prosperous republics within the Russian Federation. It's capital, Kazan, boasts a population of some 1.2 million people and is the 8th largest city in Russia. the At
present, over 50 mosques operate in Kazan, including Kol Sharif (pictured), one of the largest mosques in Europe, rebuilt in 1996 on the territory of the Kazan Kremlin (the original was destroyed by Ivan the
"Tatarstan Parliament Introduces New Islam Holiday" Spero News September 24, 2010
"The City of Diplomats" RIA Novosti September 24, 2010
"Holiday on conversion to Islam has been approved by the Russian Republic of Tatarstan officially celebrated annually" All Voices September 24, 2010