KIEV – Angered by Russia's decision to block him from entering the Crimean peninsula, Mustafa Dzhemilev, a Crimean Tatar leader, has accused Russia of attempting to divide his people, Reuters reported.
Dzhemilev, a leader of the Mejlis until last year and a Ukrainian parliament deputy, is considered the spiritual leader of Tatars. On Saturday he was blocked from entering the Crimean peninsula on suspicion he intends to destabilize the region.
Speaking in Kiev, Dzhemilev said that Crimean Tatar Muslim population would do their “best to make sure that Tatar protests continue to be peaceful and democratic.”
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“If force were used by the occupational authorities, the reaction of the people is unknown. The Crimean Tatar parliament, the Mejlis, can’t guarantee anything,” he warned.
Dzhemilev, has said they are coming under increasing pressure from Russian authorities to show loyalty to Moscow.
The 300,000-strong Muslim minority makes up less than 15 percent of Crimea's population of 2 million and has so far been overwhelmingly opposed to Russia's annexation of the peninsula.
The Russian move to annex Crimea followed an earlier vote in March on the peninsula’s future.
The referendum, approved by 96 percent, was followed by several steps from pro-Moscow Crimean parliament, issuing a law that allows Russia’s annexation of the disputed peninsula.
The hastily organized March 16 referendum was boycotted by Tatars who rejected as held at gunpoint under the gaze of Russian soldiers.
After Russian annexation of Crimea, fears of Muslim Tatars were doubled, voicing concerns over losing freedom and reviving the memories of exile and prosecution they faced in 1944.
There are fears by Crimean Tatars that events to mark the seventieth anniversary on May 18th of their deportation during World War Two by Soviet forces could lead to further pressure by Russian authorities.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net - Read full article here
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