In the panic of shootings in Ukraine, Muslims fast, in difficult circumstances

In the holy month of Ramadan in Ukraine this year, the country’s Muslims are facing a difficult situation. They have to observe the fast in fear of bullets from all around and bombs falling from the sky.

As the days go by, Russia’s campaign in Ukraine is getting stronger. The war situation is murky. However, many plans to provide essential assistance to the needy people are yet to be implemented.

Nyara Nimatova is a Crimean Tatar and head of the Muslim League of Ukraine. Her husband Muhammad Mamutov is an imam. “We have to start all over again and adapt to the situation,” Nimatova said.

In the month of Ramadan, Nimatova plans to have Iftar with the displaced Muslims at the Islamic Center in the city of Chernivtsi.

Nimatova was talking to Al Jazeera on her cell phone in the western city of Ukraine. He said that many Muslims have left the country since the beginning of the war. Those who are still there need help. He himself has been displaced from the southeastern province of Japorizhiya. Part of the province is now under Russian military control.

According to the United Nations, more than 10 million people have been displaced in the past five weeks since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. About 4 million of them have taken refuge in neighboring countries.

Orthodox Christians make up about 1 percent of Ukraine’s Muslim population. More than 20,000 Turks lived in the country before the war began. Also present were a significant number of Turkic peoples of various ethnic groups, most of whom were Crimean Tatars.

For these Muslims, this month of Ramadan is completely different. Cities in Ukraine have been bombed by Russia. Curfews have been imposed in various places; No movement in the evening. During the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims fast for the whole day and gather for Iftar at this time. However, due to the war, the displaced Muslims like others have become separated from their community, family and friends.

“We must be ready during the month of Ramadan (in the midst of the war) to pray for our families, for the forgiveness of the souls of those killed, and for our country, Ukraine,” Nimatova said.

‘We will share the bread’

Nimatova has had to leave the house before. That was in 2014. That year, Russia occupied the Crimean peninsula in Ukraine. As a result, he and his family had to flee to Japorijhiya.

“When we lived in Crimea, we never thought we would have to leave,” Nimatova said. Long ago, our people (the Tatar people of Crimea) were deported from Crimea by Soviet leader Joseph Stalin.

But my grandparents always dreamed of going back there. ‘
In 1944, under Stalin’s direction, more than 191,000 members of the Tatar Muslim community living in Crimea were deported to Uzbekistan. Later, in 1982, when Nimatova was just two years old, her family returned to Crimea.

Nimatova said, “Then in 2014 Russia occupied Crimea. And we understand, we can’t practice our religion here. So let’s go. Now we have to leave home again. ‘

He said Nimatova’s plans were to change in the run-up to Ramadan. These include the practice of religious education in Ramadan and the provision of food for the homeless. However, even during the war, some of the religious teachings can be continued online.

Nimatova noted that there was much diversity among Muslims in Zaporizhiya. Going to reminisce about this, he said, ‘Muslims from different ethnic groups used to live in the city. Everyone used to cook their own food during Ramadan. One day we might have eaten Indian biryani, another day we would have Palestinian mantsev (Palestinian specialty food) or Uzbek polov (biryani national dish). ‘

The woman, one of the victims of the Ukraine-Russia war, said: Now when I hear the siren, I hide. We do not know what will happen tomorrow. It’s a psychologically difficult battle. I think our age has increased by 10 years since the beginning of the war.

Isa Celebi has been living in Ukraine since 2010. Like Nimatova, she is a victim of the ongoing war. The Muslim man said many would have to stay away from home during the month of Ramadan this year because of the war.

Celebi said, ‘Ramadan or war, we always keep the door of our house open for everyone. We will share the bread and eat it. ‘ However, he acknowledged that their numbers were not enough to defeat President Conte’s government.

Noting that the war has had a devastating effect on people’s lives, Celebi said: “We are fighting for survival. My business is completely shut down. But I believe that in a year or two we will see the end of this (war).

Good days will come again. That is why I did not leave the country.

At the beginning of the war, Celebi helped 400 Turkish Muslims and Ukrainians flee the country from his hometown of Vinitsia in western Ukraine. And now he is helping to take care of 1 thousand orphans. He said, “I will give them (orphans) the whole of this year’s zakat.”

“Ukrainians are good people,” the latest celebrity pleaded. We should come forward to alleviate their suffering. I urge everyone to support the Ukrainians. “

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