The views of Russian scholar and author Maria Kicha about the Islamic world

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Mon, 2021-09-06
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We have been blessed this summer with two excellent Russian interns. One of them, Valeria Bezrodnaya, interviewed Maria Kicha, Russian expert about the Islamic world. It shows a world in upheaval with Christians trying to leave their troubled countries of origin. Countries that were previously had substantial Christian minorities are losing these Christians. “The Middle East is being Islamized by 100%. This is happening in Egypt, this is happening in Iraq, this is happening in Lebanon,” Maria Kicha observes.

 August 4, 2021. Beirut, Lebanon. From the personal blog of Maria Kicha.


Lebanon once had a Christian majority population but is now rapidly losing its Christians. This migration follows decades of unrest, (civil) wars, interventions from neighboring countries and mismanagement of the government. “The Lebanese anger at their political elite is unprecedented.” Lebanon is “in the state of decay. They don’t see a light at the end. Many leave, especially the youth and qualified specialists. Many medical surgeries cannot be carried out anymore inside the country because there are no surgeons anymore. They leave for France, the Emirates, Syria. They abandon nice real estate, houses on the Mediterranean – even that does not hold them." 


Jordan is another troubled country with insufficient resources to support its growing population.


Iraq degraded due to decades of wars.


Egypt and Cairo are overpopulated. Many men try to show off their religiosity with a zabiba [zabība], a bruise on their forehead that should show people that they are praying five times per day, rubbing their head on their prayer mat. “This zabiba, as far as I see, is a specifically Egyptian trend – I haven’t seen it in other countries. Probably prayer mats in Egypt are harder (sarcastic remark) … It is not about what’s on your head though. It’s about what you have inside this head.” 


The Taliban in Afghanistan claim that they adhere to human rights but then added “in accordance with the Muslim values and national interests.” This, however, doesn’t stop them from beating women who walk around without a male guardian. 


Maria Kicha’s observations show an Islamic world in deep trouble. For the full text of the interview please click here.


Citizens try to escape through migration and seeking hope in Islamization. I do not think that military responses to religiously motivated extremism helps at all but rather believe that this is only aggravating tensions. Instead, countries need support if we do not want to see them to fall prey to radical Islamist movements.



September 6, 2021

Cornelis Hulsman, editor-in-chief Arab-West Report