Crossing Borders

Ulrich Hufen:

Ulrich Hufen was born in Weimar in 1969, and was one of those East Germans who not only took Russian in school but also learned it. He moved to West Germany in 1990, and studied Slavic and East European history in Cologne and St. Petersburg. Since the late 1990s, he has been writing for radio, TV, and print – preferably about Russian issues.
Zwischen Moskau und Mekka. Russische Muslime jenseits des Terrors. (“Between Moscow and Mecca. Russian Muslims on the other side of terrorism.”)

The Russian football champions Rubin Kazan welcome the players from Anzhi Makhachkala: Tatarstan is playing against Dagestan, the Volga River basin against the North Caucasus, Muslims against Muslims. The North Caucasus and the central Volga region are the two major Muslim settlements in Russia. While in the North Caucasus poverty and terrorism prevail, the Volga republics are thriving. Mr. Hufen traveled into the heart of Russia to the Volga region to find out how the nearly 20 million Muslims live in Russia. Specifically those that we do not see on the news because they do not blow up any subway trains in Moscow or airports.

Direction: Axel Pleuser
Length: 53 minutes
Premiere: April 23, 2011, 12:05 p.m. on WDR 3

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During the autumn of 2009 and spring of 2010, Ulrich Hufen traveled to Moscow and the Tartar capital of Kazan on the Volga River. Moscow is the city in Europe whose population has by far the largest share of Muslims. He conducted numerous interviews with Russian Muslims of various nationalities: Dagestanis and Tatars, Chechens and Bashkirs, Azerbaijanis, Kazakhs, and Uzbeks. He spoke with representatives of Muslim organizations, such as the Council of the Russian Muftis, imams of various mosques, and with the Islamic cultural center in Moscow. “The highlight of my research in Moscow was on November 13, 2009, when I attended the Friday prayer at Moscow’s central mosque. The mosque was filled to the brim with believers.”