Chechnya, Islam in
Chechnya is a Russian republic in the heart of the Tatar region. Although the majority of the non-Russian population is Muslim, recent population fluctuations prevent the calculation of exact demographic figures. Sunni Islam was introduced from the southeast in the late eighteenth century by Sufis. Chechen and other Caucasian tribes mounted a prolonged resistance to Russian conquest beginning in the early nineteenth century under Imam Shamil . In the twentieth century the Soviets launched an assault on organized religious faith that undermined the influence of Islam. Nevertheless, Islam remained an important component of Chechen identity, especially as an element in the resistance movement of the 1990s. In 1997 Chechnya officially embraced Islam as the state religion, ostensibly to restore order in a country plagued by war and anarchy. As a result, the Chechen population is experiencing both a revival and a transformation of Islam. Islam and Sufi orders have served as the backbone of a ferocious separatist movement since 1997 .
See also Russia, Islam in