Moscow, March 5, Interfax - Predictions that Russia's Muslim population will rise dramatically are groundless, according to Roman Silantyev, professor of Islamic studies at the Moscow State Linguistic University.
"For exactly 30 years head of the Russian Council of Muftis, Ravil Gainutdin, citing especially competent specialists, has been predicting the inevitable Islamization of Russia over the next fifteen to twenty years, but it has not started for some reason: the proportion of Muslims has risen by no more than 1.5% since 1989," Silantyev told Interfax.
Silantyev was commenting on Gainutdin's remarks that the Muslim proportion of Russia's population would increase to 30% in the next 15 years.
No such expected increase is happening because high birth rates in East Caucasus are offset by low birth rates among Muslims in West Caucasus, and particularly in the Volga Region, he said.
Furthermore, alongside migrants from Central Asia, a lot of people have come to Russia from Ukraine and Moldova, and they are Orthodox Christians, he said. "In addition, over a million ethnic Muslims have become Christians, whereas new Muslim converts numbered in the tens of thousands," Silantyev said.