Muslim graves desecrated in the Crimea

During the night from 9 to 10 February, all the gravestones in the central Muslim cemetery of the Nizhnyohirske settlement in the Crimea were destroyed. According to the Head of the Nizhnyohirske Mejilis, Mustafa Salmanov, one of the members of the Mejilis alerted him in the morning.
More than 220 gravestones were totally destroyed, and the fence around the cemetery was partially ruined. Mustafa Salmanov also said that the perpetrators had killed the dog who was the only guard of the cemetery since the communal services do not provide security for any cemeteries, Muslim or Christian.
The attack was reported immediately to the regional department of the Security Service [SBU], the police and the prosecutor’s office. They sent out people immediately and an investigation is now underway.
Members of the community are convinced that this was not the work of one or two vandals, but a planned attack.
cf. also: http://www.khpg.org.ua/en/index.php?id=1202847128

Jewish community outrage over attack on Muslim cemetery
http://www.khpg.org.ua/en/index.php?id=1202764649

We pass on this appeal from Mubeyyin Batu Altan, Political and External Affairs Director for the
American Association of Crimean Tatars in New York

AN APPEAL TO THE WORLD PUBLIC

Barely three months has elapsed since the Berkut, the Ukrainian militia forces attacked and brutally beat Crimean Tatars in November of 2007 in Balaklava Street in Akmescit (Simferopol) and Ai-Petri, near Yalta, and destroyed their small business establishments.
While Crimean Tatars are yet to recover from the shock of the aforementioned attacks, in early hours on February 10, 2008 in town of Seitler (Nzynyohirsky) in Crimea, a group of vandals broke into the Crimean Tatar Muslim cemetery, killed the watchdog and then ransacked and desecrated 270 Crimean Tatar headstones. This vicious attack is just a continuation of series of attacks on the indigenous people of Crimea, Crimean Tatars, by the chauvinist forces who are determined to destabilize the peaceful Crimean peninsula.
We are afraid that Crimean Tatars' patienct is running thin, and after this latest attack on their cemetery they began to ask their leaders about taking the safety and protection of their families and properties into their own hands. Once again the Crimean Tatar leaders advised against it and asked Crimean Tatars to remain calm and patient. The Crimean Tatar leaders again asked their people to "turn the other cheek" to avoid bloodshed. But how long can they keep "turning the other cheek?" Crimean Tatars' patience is running out. The peaceful cry of the Crimean Tatars always has been "We have no other homeland, but Crimea" They have no other place to go, they are in their ancestral homeland to stay, and their goal is to coexist there peacefully with all other nationalities as a people and a nation.
These violent attacks against the Crimean Tatars and their sacred places must stop! We strongly protest and condemn these well organized, deliberate attacks on Crimean Tatars who were unjustly deported en masse from their ancestral homeland, Crimea, by the Soviet authorities 64 years ago and are still in process of returning and resettling to Crimea. Therefore,

We, strongly appeal to the Ukrainian government to immediately intervene and stop these well organized attacks on Crimean Tatars who have repeatedly declared their peaceful intentions to resettle in Crimea and live there peacefully.

We also appeal to the leaders of the world community of nations to focus their attention on Crimea and help Crimean Tatars peacefully resettle in their ancestral homeland.

We strongly appeal to all international organizations to help Crimean Tatars to have their human and national rights reinstated and protected.

We strongly appeal to world public to help Crimean Tatars in their peaceful struggle to return and resettle in their ancestral homeland, Crimea.

Stop the on going violence perpetrated by the chauvinist forces against Crimean Tatars! Help Crimean Tatars live in their only homeland, the Crimea, peacefully with all other nationalities!

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Submitted by Jeff.Mowatt on Mon, 2008-02-18 07:23.

There's been a program of economic development support on the table for the past 5 years, it's aimed at improving living conditions for the Crimean Tatars, but it will only be allowed to proceed within an environment devoid of corruption:

http://www.p-ced.com/Projects/Ukraine/CrimeanTatars/tabid/63/Default.aspx

A Russian version will be found there also.