What would Marx and Lenin think? Islam as "opiate of the masses"? "Islam to become Russia’s predominant religion by 2050?" from Pravda, July 21:
Islam is likely to become the primary religion in the Russian Federation by 2050 due to the high birth rate in Muslim republics.
Islam is currently the second most widely professed religion in the Russian Federation. It is impossible to provide official statistics of "practicing" adherents of Islam or any other religion in Russia because there is no country-wide census or statistics done on this matter by any governmental organization.
There was much evidence of official conciliation toward Islam in Russia in the 1990s. The number of Muslims allowed to make pilgrimages to Mecca increased sharply after the embargo of the Soviet era ended in 1990. In 1995 the newly established Union of Muslims of Russia, led by Imam Khatyb Mukaddas of Tatarstan, began organizing a movement aimed at improving inter-ethnic understanding and ending Russians' lingering misconception of Islam.
Many Muslim citizens, in particular Muslim clerics, often cite instances of arrest and harassment by authorities, as well as ocassional confiscation of Islamic educational sources. The problems have been exacerbated by terrorist attacks linked with Islamic extremism and Chechen independence. Many ordinary Muslims in Russia fear that they have become the victims of a violent backlash.
The rise in the Russian Muslim population, terrorist attacks and the steep decline of the ethnic Russian population have given rise to a greater degree of Xenophobia and Islamophobia in Russia.