Sadly, the return to Crimea of the Tatars, who were deported in 1944, instead of the expected peaceful co-existence has brought to the peninsula hostility and stress. The leaders of the illegal majlis of Crimean Tatars, to the shame of their folk, are pushing them towards strife and discord. The networks of Tatar squatting has spread over the entire territory, including protected areas and the lands that have already been taken over by the natives.
Today, using the lack of housing as justification for their illegal actions, the Tatars, who number only 12% of the total population of Crimea, already have more land per capita than the indigenous population. Not only that, it soon became apparent that the lands are being seized with the prospect of sale and to accumulate wealth.
Even speculating on their shrines, they crowd out the Crimean people, and then build on their own sacred places markets, bars, etc. The way of life of the majority of today's Tatars closely resembles that of their ancestors: annexations, raids, toll collections and the use of slave labour.
On December 6, 1992 activists of the illegal Majlis vandalized the building of Bakhchisaray town council, seized the District Registry Offices and established there the headquarters of the Majlis (illegal Tatar parliament). For the last 15 years, the Majlis have been refusing to register under the law as a public institution or a party, and act in anti-constitutional way, using on documents the address of the registrar's office and unauthorized seals. The Chairman\of Bahchisaray town administration Ilmi Umerov belongs to the radical wing of the Majlis; on multiple occasions he has participated in many of the illegal actions, including the attack on the monastery in March 2004, when he broke a welding machine which belonged to the monastery with a sledgehammer.
Increasingly spreading their influence in the government institutions, they are steadily moving towards their eternal dream - the establishment of the autonomy of the Crimean Tatars in Crimea.
The Monastery of the Holy Assumption is situated at the intersection of hiking trails, and its territory is very attractive for those seeking easy money. Because of this, the enterprising businessmen stick around the monastery, like vultures, sometimes openly, sometimes hiding under the various excuses, since its reconstruction began. More than once the land of the monastery has been under the threat of takeover. On 25 July 2001 at the initiative of the Majlis activists about 300 Crimean Tatars invaded the territory of the monastery of Holy Assumption of Bakhchisaray demanding to give them a piece of land which belonged to the monastery. Violent extremists had to be stopped by OMON (riot police division).
By hook or by crook, they are trying to acquire the lower court of the monastery. So much efforts has been spent so many efforts on this, that unavoidably the question arises: perhaps, some treasure is buried there?
While continuing their work on the reconstruction of the monastery, the brethren decided to restore the Holy Gates, which were demolished by the Soviet authorities during the persecutions of the Church. This has elicited objections from the illegal Tatar Mejlis, whose opinion is somehow becoming more influential in the corridors of power. As a result, the documents regarding the restoration of the Holy Gates, despite having been submitted many months ago, are still waiting to be considered.
Apart from this, there was an immediate outcry about the insult to religious feelings of the Muslims, who, in order to get to the Islamic religious school Zyndzhyrly madrassas were forced to walk through the Holy Gates. However, it is a historical fact that by the time when the Zyndzhyrly madrassas was founded the monastery had been there for seven centuries. And the founders of the madrasas were not bothered by the proximity of the Orthodox monastery. Could it be that they were better Muslims than the current Tatars? Had it not been acceptable in principle, they would have chosen a different location. Today's Holy Gates are not a new phenomenon, but the restoration of the former gates on the same place.
Moreover, originally the building of the Holy Gates WITH THE CROSS two centuries ago had not caused indignation among the Muslims and their religious feelings were not infringed. According to the documents, for a long period of time, these two unique buildings of the Orthodox and Muslim religions peacefully operated in close proximity to each other. Finally, are the modern Tatars more religious than the ancient khans who, going to their military campaigns, came to the monastery and lit in its church a candle which weigh 16 kilos for a successful outcome of the war?!
A perfect example of the peaceful co-existence of Muslims and Orthodox Christians is in the monastery of the great martyr St. Catherine in Egypt. There is a mosque there, which was built in the time when Muhammad was persecuted and he was hiding in the monastery. This bears witness that no profanation took place. And there is a document, signed by him and sealed with his own hand. It means that the monastic brethren not only provided a cover for him, but also during his residence a miniature mosque was built so that he could pray there. And it has been preserved until today. Also, little known is the fact that the Holy Gates were built on the foundation of an ancient Christian church of St. Sophia, which was destroyed by the Tatars, converted into a mosque, and then again returned to the monastery, and on its foundations is now a chapel with two adjacent cells.
And yet another interesting point. In the State Archives in the ARC there is a receipt of a mullah, written by his own hand, in which he writes that he is returning the land "occupied from the past by an ancestor of mine ... and which used to belong to the Uspensky (Holy Assumption) monastery from ancient times, ... by my voluntary agreement, ... having received for all the buildings made by me 400 silver rubles in the future, neither I nor any of my heirs will have absolutely any claims to the place, as to the ownership of Uspensky rock and the Assumption Church, and everything that is on it. And all kinds of disputes and harassment should therefore be ignored by the judiciary and government sites and persons."
But looking at how active has been the resistance on the part of the Tatars to the construction of the Holy Gates, one finds the most amazing fact that, despite their constant accusations that the monastery has insulted and infringed the religious feelings of Muslims, and their objections to the restoration of the monastery, the Tatars during the period of the revival of Islam in the Crimea, did not even raise the issue of creating a spiritual community or a religious school on the grounds of the monastery. And besides the monastery, other interested parties took no concrete actions to implement their intentions. The Spiritual Administration still has not even decided about the fate of the revival of Zyndzhyrly madrassas. However, the Muslims are extremely worried about the road they would take to get there.
We are also witnesses to the demonstration by some Tatars of a perfect lack of understanding of Orthodox monasticism. This was expressed in the words said about the inhabitants of the monastery: "Why do they stay there? Having rebuilt and restored the monastery, why don't they go? ". It must be made clear - the word "monk" derives from the Greek word "monos", which means "alone". Despising the temptations of the world, the monks devote themselves entirely to God. Moved by this feeling, they distance themselves from the world, and organize their life in the monasteries - to eat from their labours, to lead a solitary life in fasting and constant prayer. The act of seizing a territory is not compatible with the very concept of monasticism - to give up everything for God.
To conclude, I would like to quote from the article "Turned down" from the newspaper "Crimean time" (? 68, June 23, 2007), in which the author rightly observed: "If this was not the territory of the monastery, but some bar, where the tourists could enjoy the forbidden by the sharia law vodka and pasties, then there would be no talks of insulting the religious feelings of Muslims". Aggravation started only after the monastery decided to build on its land the Holy Gates with a cross.
"Now, in my opinion, is the time for us, Christians, to rebel: why are our religious symbols constantly perceived as the insults by some people? Somehow the advertising of cigarettes and vodka on every corner does not cause offense to anyone, but the symbol of our God and the One who is called in the Qur'an a great prophet (the name of Jesus is mentioned in the Qur'an more than 70 times), apparently, is doing significant harm to someone's religious feelings. This is absurd. But worst of all is that this nonsense is constantly becoming a topic for discussion in the offices of power,"- writes the author. From all this, the conclusion is that the true purpose of the endless claims against the monastery remains unclear ...