Estonian Muslim community hoping for state cooperation in integrating migrants (8)

Muslims praying (AFP Photo/Scanpix)
9/25/2015 12:52 PM
Category: Society

The head imam of the Estonian Muslim community, Ildar Muhamedšin, said there is no friction between Sunnis and Shiites in Estonia, adding that he hopes to co-operate with the state to better integrate any new Muslim migrants.

A couple of hundred Muslims gathered at the Islamic center in Tallinn on Thursday for the beginning of Eid al-Adha – or Feast of Sacrifice – the second of two religious holidays celebrated by Muslims worldwide each year. In Islam, it honors the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son, as an act of submission to God's command, before God then intervened, through his angel Jibra'il and informs him that his sacrifice has already been accepted.

“It is Islam's greatest religious holiday. The main meaning is that the pilgrimage to Mecca is coming to an end, and today the most important day is ending, the Arafah, and this what is being marked,” Kristi Ockba, a local Muslim, said.

Sunnis and Shiites worship together in Estonia. “Thankfully we do not have differences, as our Islamic community unites all Muslims – we have Tatars, Azerbaijanis and other nationalities,” Muhamedšin said.

He said any new Muslim migrants must be integrated, “We must teach them the real Islam, which is based on love of one another and genuine moral principles. For this reason, we, the Estonian Muslems, need the help of the state and we must cooperate,” he added.

Timur Saripov, a board member of the Estonian Islamic community, said he has met the asylum seekers at Vao, adding that the migrants told him they do not want to stay in Estonia. “They see Estonia as a transit nations and are not interested in staying in Estonia. They say Vao has no jobs and they are primarily looking at Scandinavian nations – Sweden and Finland,” Saripov said.

He said the greatest problem for Muslims in Estonia is lack of jobs.

J.M. Laats

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