Crimean Tatars are the people group that preserved their ethnic, cultural and religious identity in the most difficult historical situations. After Russia occupied the Crimean Peninsula, many of them were forced to leave their homes in fear not only for their lives, but for their cultural and religious freedoms as well. They chose Lviv region despite the boogieman stories about “bloody Bandera’s followers” told by Russian TV. Because they realised that they are the most likely to be unnderstood in the region where people also appreciate commitment to traditions and religion.
The local authorities and public figures, in their turn, wished to understand their Muslim compatriots better, so that they will not establish the region’s social policy “blindfolded”. For that reason Interfaith Centre “Libertas” facilitated a Muslim-Christian roundtable housed by Lviv City Council, to discuss the matters of Christian-Muslim dialogue and Crimean Tatar needs.
The Muslims were represented by mr.Said Ismagilov (Mufti of RAMU “Umma”) and the AUASO “Alraid” (Mr. Oleh Guzik, Mr.Alan Dakuree and Mr.Evhen Hlushchenko), Mr.Ernest Abkelyamov (head on the Crimean Tatar community) and Mr.Arsen Zhumadilov, authorized representative of the Crimean Tatar Ombudsman.
Cardinal Christoph von Schönborn, authorized representative of the Pope, noted that the unity currently demonstrated by Ukrainians of different confession is something unique. “I’ve hardly ever seen something like this in my entire life. The way Ukraine lives today has to be the role model for the whole world!”
Indeed, the believers of Ukraine never avoided dialogue and held numerous events aiming for better understanding of one another. Those resulted in multiple interfaith scientific conferences and roundtables, like those facilitated by the AUASO “Alraid” in particular (they resulted in publishing Digests of the participants’ thesis), conferences for educators in Crimea, where matters of morals and tolerance were discussed (which, in particular, resulted in publishing a textbook on tolerance for Crimean schools). Besides, any person can get a general introduction to Islamic culture and learn Arabic free of charge at one of the “Alraid” Islamic Cultural Centres in different Ukrainian cities, with one of them situated in Lviv.