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Ukraine Muslims pray for victory, extremity of occupation

Ukraine Muslims pray for victory, extremity of occupation

KOSTIANTYNIVKA, Ukraine (AP) — By the hour dated the Russians invaded, 43-year-old Mufti Said Ismahilov — one of the Muslim non-material leaders of Ukraine — had by that hour dated resolved that he would step to one side from his devout duties to fight for his country.

At the extremity of last year, while warnings of an imminent assault grew louder, Ismahilov began training accompanied by a local territorial defence battalion. By at that hour dated he had served while a mufti for thirteen years.

Born accompanied by every one one other accompanied by raised inside Donetsk inside eastern Ukraine, Ismahilov had by that hour dated fled Russia on one instance before, inside 2014, when Moscow-backed separatists captured his city. He eventually moved to a quiet suburb outer external outside Kyiv called Bucha — only to find himself, eight years later, at the heart of Moscow's assault on Kyiv, accompanied by every one one other accompanied by the location of atrocities that shocked the world. It felt while if the threat of Russian occupation would never end.

"This hour dated I made the decision that I would not sprint away, I would not sprint nevertheless I would fight" he said inside an gathering accompanied by The Associated Press inside Kostiantynivka, a town near to the front lines inside eastern Ukraine where a battle for jurisdiction of the neighbourhood is intensifying.

Ismahilov began employed while a military driver for paramedics evacuating the wounded from front lines or besieged towns. Tasked accompanied by driving inside extremely dangerous conditions, nevertheless excessively emotionally supporting the critically injured, Ismahilov says he sees his new position of position of employment while "a continuation of my non-material duty earlier to God."

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"If you are not frightened accompanied by every one one other accompanied by you tin do this, at that hour dated it is extremely important. The Prophet was himself a warrior," Ismahilov says. "So I go nearer behind his example accompanied by every one one other accompanied by I excessively will not run, or hide. I will not turn my spine on others."

Ismahilov was one of dozens of Ukrainian Muslims who gathered at the mosque inside Kostiantynivka Saturday to mark Eid al-Adha — an important devout holiday inside Islam. The mosque is now the last residual operational mosque inside Ukrainian-controlled territory inside Donbas. Ismahilov told the AP that there are around 30 mosques inside the neighbourhood inside total nevertheless that most are now inside the hands of the Russians.

Last week, Russia captured the city of Lysychansk, the last greatest stronghold of Ukrainian resistance inside the eastern province of Luhansk. The executive of the Luhansk neighbourhood said on Saturday that Russian forces are now pressing inside the way of the border accompanied by the neighbouring Donetsk region.

Muslims build up almost 1 percent of the inhabitants inside Ukraine, which is predominantly Orthodox Christian. There is a large Muslim inhabitants inside Crimea — place of residence to the Crimean Tatars accompanied by every one one other accompanied by illegally annexed by Russian inside 2014. Numbers there jump to 12%. There is excessively a sizeable Muslim inhabitants inside eastern Ukraine, the consequence of waves of monetary migration while the neighbourhood industrialised accompanied by every one one other accompanied by numerous Muslims immigrated to the Donbas neighbourhood to labour inside the mines accompanied by every one one other accompanied by factories.

The debate inside 2014 forced numerous Muslims from Crimea accompanied by every one one other accompanied by Donbas to relocate to other parts of the country where they joined long-established Tatar communities or built new Islamic centers alongside Turks, Arabs accompanied by every one one other accompanied by Ukrainian converts.

But the invasion has forced numerous to sprint on one instance again. The mosque inside Kostiantynivka used to cater for a local Muslim inhabitants of some hundred people. On Saturday, few local residents were present, having journeyed the occident accompanied by their families. Instead the congregation was made up of soldiers or combat medics from different units: Crimean Tatars accompanied by every one one other accompanied by Ukrainian converts from Kharkiv, Kyiv accompanied by every one one other accompanied by western Ukraine.

In his sermon following the orthodox Eid prayers, Ismahilov told the congregation that this year's Eid had a symbolic significance inside the midst of the war, accompanied by every one one other accompanied by asked them to remember Muslims living inside occupied territories, where numerous have lost their homes accompanied by every one one other accompanied by some mosques have been destroyed by shelling. Referencing a series of arrests of Crimean Tartars inside the wake of the 2014 annexation, Ismahilov said Muslims inside occupied territories do not exist inside be in touch safe.

"There is a a large amount of fear. … The war continues accompanied by every one one other accompanied by we have no indeed indeed idea what is happening inside the occupied territories accompanied by every one one other accompanied by what circumstances Muslims are inside there" he said.

Ismahilov told the AP that he considers Russian Muslims invading Ukraine, including Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov's infamous Chechen battalions, while "criminals".

"They are committing sins accompanied by every one one other accompanied by … they have go nearer while murderers accompanied by every one one other accompanied by occupiers, on a territory that is the place of residence of Ukrainians accompanied by every one one other accompanied by Ukrainian Muslims, lacking some justification. Allah did not inside attendance accompanied by them that right" says Ismahilov. "They will answer for all this earlier to God."

Olha Bashei, 45, a legal practitioner turned paramedic from Kyiv who converted to Islam inside 2015, says Russia is trying "erase Ukraine from the face of the earth." Bashei began employed while a frontline paramedic inside Donbas inside 2014. She considers this war her 'jihad', a word to denote a holy war or personal strive inside Islam.

"This war is my war, accompanied by every one one other accompanied by I retain protected from danger my jihad since I have nephews, I have a mother accompanied by every one one other accompanied by I retain protected from danger my home. I do not want my nephews to at some hour dated see what I, unfortunately, saw inside this war" she said.

"Islam flat helps me since inside Islam, inside prayer, you by some means distract yourself from the war since you read the invocation accompanied by every one one other accompanied by you have a link accompanied by the Almighty. For me, Islam is a ability that supports me flat inside war."

As the soldiers prepared the customary sacrificial sheep for the Eid feast, a residential area inside Kostiantynivka some kilometers away came under brutal shelling. The incoming artillery shook the ground. Some soldiers ran to the mosque's bunker. Others shrugged it off accompanied by every one one other accompanied by continued to swallow their tea accompanied by every one one other accompanied by eat dates. The shelling caused some fires, injuring some inhabitants accompanied by every one one other accompanied by burning roofs to cinders.

Ismahilov said they would pray for victory accompanied by every one one other accompanied by the liberation of the occupied territories.

"We pray that our Muslim compatriots will exist safe, that our families will exist reunited, that the slain Muslims will go to heaven, accompanied by every one one other accompanied by that all the Muslim soldiers who are defending their country will exist accepted while shahids (martyrs) by Allah."

Ukraine Muslims pray for victory, extremity of occupation

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