On November 26, the Chairman of the National Council of the World Congress of Tatars, Deputy Prime Minister of the Government of Tatarstan Vasil Shaikhraziev arrived in Helsinki, the capital of Finland.
He visited the Muslim cemetery of the city. This place of rest of local Muslims is one of the four parts of the main cemetery of Helsinki, Hietaniemi (Hietaniemi), located in the district of Töölö (Töölö). Since the Tatars are the very first Muslim community in this country, it is quite natural that most of the buried ones were Tatars.
The most famous people of Finland were buried in Hietaniemi: politicians, scientists, artists. One of the most visited places is the grave of the national hero of Finland, Marshal Karl Mannerheim. Also, on the territory of the cemetery is a memorial complex of the monument to an unknown soldier.
In the evening Vasil Shaikhraziev came to the so-called House of the Mahalla – a place where Tatars gather together for religious holidays and social events. Here the chairman of the National Council of the CGT inspected the prayer hall, library, and classrooms. Then a meeting with representatives of local Tatars was held. During the conversation, the topics of interest to both sides were discussed.
It is believed that the first Tatars appeared in the early 19th century, when Finland was annexed to the Russian Empire. They were soldiers of local garrisons. Little by little, Tatar merchants began to come to this region. If at first they were there by collisions, then families were transported. By the 20th century, the Tatars of Finland had taken control of fur trade and furs. In 1025 they created the society “Islamia” – the first Muslim association in Northern Europe. And in 1935 – the Society for Tatar Culture was established. “Islamiya” owns a five-story building in the center of Helsinki, where a prayer house, the Society of Tatar Culture, a Sunday school, a library, a sports club “Yoldyz” are located.
To date, the number of Muslims in Finland is estimated at about 60 thousand people, of which there are only one thousand Tatars. But this is the most visible and respected community. They are most integrated into modern Finnish society. At the same time, they retain their native language, national customs and traditions. The Tatars of Finland do not ask for money from the state to satisfy their religious and cultural needs, they live under the mahalla system, that is, they have created a fund in which funds are raised on a voluntary basis.