Muslims see strength in numbers from the Australian:
MOSCOW: Russia’s leading Muslim cleric has alarmed Orthodox Church leaders and nationalists by claiming the country has 23million Muslims, 3 million more than previously believed.
According to the last census, three years ago, about 14.5 million of Russia’s 144 million people were ethnic Muslims. Religious leaders have put the number at nearer 20 million.
But the leader of the Council of Muftis of Russia, Ravil Gaynutdin, said this week the number of ethnic Muslims was 23million and rising.
“They are indigenous residents of our country, not migrants or immigrants, and have been living here from time immemorial,” the mufti told a meeting of the European Union of Muslims. “The number of people professing Islam in Russia is constantly growing.”
“Time immemorial” implies what Muslims believe, that Islam actually dates from before the 7th Century because it claims to be the original religion of mankind, restored by Muhammad.