Crimean Tatars: Eid Celebrations Marked by Fear of Persecution
The Crimean Tatars have recently held Eid celebrations marking the end of Ramadan. Many in the Muslim community lived these festivities with fear of further persecution by the Russian authorities. Since the illegal annexation of Crimea in early 2014, several Tatar leaders have been banned from returning to the region, the Tatar TV Channel was shut down and commemorations of Stalin’s deportation of the community to central Asia were prohibited.
Below is an article published by Ukraine Today:
Crimean Tatar Muslims in the Russian-occupied Ukrainian peninsula have held Eid celebrations, marking the end of Ramadan. Those who observed the traditional fast throughout the Holy Month could finally enjoy meals in the daylight in the regional capital Simferopol. Traditional music and competitions including arm wrestling competitions were held.
One Crimean Tatar Mufti said the day was a time to pray to God for peace.
Hajji Emirali Ablayev, Crimean Mufti: "On this celebration we congratulate each other and wish people good. We pray to God for what we have. We pray for the beauty around and for peace."
Crimean Tatars, a Turkic-speaking Muslim community long present on the Black Sea, make up about 12 percent of Crimea's 2-million population. Many have faced persecution under the Kremlin-appointed authorities after Russian Special Forces captured the peninsula in March last year.
They largely boycotted the sham referendum on seceding from Ukraine in March 2014 – and since then have faced the consequences. The self-styled authorities have banned Crimean Tatar leaders from the region, shut down the Crimean Tatar's TV channel and prohibited commemorations marking Stalin's deportation of their group to central Asia.