The continuing protests that accompanied removing a mosque’s minaret in the town of Chela in Georgiaa€™s south Samtskhe-Javakheti place on August 26 have was used to target awareness the worried coexistence within Georgia of an Orthodox religious as far back as the 4th millennium and a heterogeneous Muslim area, which during the last 2 full decades has arrived more and more under the influence of proselytizing clerics from chicken and Iran.
During the 2002 census, 433,784 consumers, or 9.9 percentage belonging to the Georgian population, identified themselves as Muslims, in accordance with a monograph posted online kavpolit in November 2012.
Nonetheless leadership with the Muslim neighborhood determine that recent body is much massive, as many as 800,000 people. Georgian leader Mikheil Saakashvili not too long ago offered the quantity of Muslims in Georgia as a number of hundred thousand, and also that of Muslim Georgians on the planet as “a few million.”
A majority of Georgiaa€™s Muslims usually are not ethnic Georgians, but.
The best individual party tends to be Azerbaijanis, who happen to live compactly in three zones of southwest Georgia bordering on Azerbaijan, and just who numbered 284,761 people in 2002. Some of them were Shi’a, yet others go through Hanafi Sunni rite.
There can be very much small forums of Chechens and Avars in the eastern and northeast of the nation.
Georgian Muslims tend to be separated into two most important teams. The main is Islamized owners associated with charcoal beach republic of Ajara that edges on Turkey, exactly who numbered 115,261 in 2002.
The Muslims in Chela comprise resettled there from Ajara when you look at the 1980s. Muslims in Ajara impact placards stating “Hands off Islam” staged a protest in Batumi on August 28 with the elimination of the minaret in Chela.
Earlier that night, the head associated with local federal government, Archil Khabadze, found with regional Muslim clerics. They guaranteed all of them that premier Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili side on your Muslim area of Chela inside dispute with tax law enforcement during the imported metal build associated with the minaret. Ivanishvili has not but manufactured any public report with regards to the event.
Next people, numbering no less than 3,000, will be the Meskhetians — the Muslim Georgians deported by then-Soviet leader Josef Stalin in November 1944. Relatively just a handful of them posses been able to resettle in Georgia despite campaigning for years for license for this.
Both the Ajar Muslims plus the Avars and representatives of additional Daghestani individuals surviving in Georgia’s east area for Kakheti continue with the Hanafi Sunni rite.
Organizationally, Georgia’s Muslim society happens to be secondary around the Baku-based table of Muslims on the Caucasus (UMK) headed by Sheikh-ul-Islam Allakhshukur Pashazade.
The UMK’s advocate in Tbilisi was Ali Aliyev. There’s an independent muftiate for Ajara, which was driving since 2010 from the regiona€™s head mufti, Jemal Paksadze.
A couple of years earlier, Paksadze is chosen head of a separate aboard of Muslims of Georgia, that your UMK reportedly considers as a quote to drive an automobile a wedge amongst the Muslim forums of Azerbaijan and Georgia.
Uncover an estimated 300-390 mosques in Georgia.
Because the fall associated with the U.S.S.R. in 1991, both poultry and Iran are making concerted attempts to proselytize among Georgia’s Muslim citizens.
Iran keeps open two Shi’a madrasahs, in Tbilisi and Marneuli, and three educational clinics, like Al al-Beit in Tbilisi, which apparently “maintains close connections with spiritual groups in Iran,” reported on kavpolit.
There are sporadic account in recent years of concerns between Orthodox Christian Georgians and Muslims, especially in outlying markets.
Like for example, in November 2012, non-Muslim owners associated with the town of Nigvziani in Lanchkhuta Raion protested the improvement of property owned by a resettler from Ajara into a mosque.
Arnold Stepanian, whom leads the international Georgia nongovernmental company, says this type of stress are always on an upswing inside the run-up around the presidential elections scheduled for July, with 40 different events signed up in Samtskhe-Javakheti over the last 6 months.
He revealed that “if an individual exerts force on Muslims, that [political] energy will get rid of ballots in Muslim-populated aspects, but insofar like the vast majority [of voters] tend to be Christians, there is a working have difficulty started with regards to their ballots.a€?