Russia: Muslim murders imam as “adversary of Islam” for opposing hijabs

Republic of Dagestan on the map of Russia as o...

Republic of Daguestan shown in Russian map. Image via Wikipedia

This is from some days ago, but important nonetheless:

Village imam was shot dead during evening prayer in Russia’s restive Dagestan region late Saturday, the region’s interior ministry said.

Imam Magomed Makhdiyev was shot in the back and head by an unidentified gunman in Karamakhi village mosque during evening prayer, Dagestan’s interior ministry said on its website on Sunday.

Makhdiyev died at the scene, the ministry said.

It was the second known murder of an imam in less than a month in Dagestan, where religious and educational leaders appear to be increasingly targeted as Russia fights an Islamist insurgency in the North Caucasus.

A school principal was targeted early Saturday in a different region of Dagestan. Sidikullah Akhmedov, who worked in the Sovetskoye village school, died on the spot near his home from wounds to the stomach, the ministry said.

via Russia: Muslim murders imam as “adversary of Islam” for opposing hijabs – Jihad Watch.

Russia: Chechen jihadists turning into global jihadists

North Caucasus regions within the Russian Fede...

Image via Wikipedia

Alexander Cherkasov, who has closely followed the North Caucasus for 15 years for rights group Memorial, said whereas in the past rebels wanted freedom from Russia, a struggle that dates back over 200 years, now they are influenced by jihadism, a global fight against alleged enemies of Islam.

“Part of it is homegrown. Corruption leads many to seek out what they call true Islam, but political Islam, by way of foreign financing and insurgents, is certainly playing a role,” he told Reuters.

In early February, Russia said its forces had killed the al Qaeda operative and Egyptian militant Makhmoud Mokhammed Shaaban in Dagestan, who the FSB security service said had masterminded several bombings.

A myriad of web sites that have come to characterize the insurgency show videos of “martyrs,” something unheard of in the region five years ago. They feature mostly local men, framed by Caucasus flags, chanting in Arabic ahead of suicide missions.

That’s right: political Islam is certainly playing a role.

Russia: Major Terrorist Attack prevented in North Caucausus, Govt says

Coat of arms of Kabardino-Balkaria.

Image via Wikipedia

Russia’s Anti Terrorism Committee said on Friday it prevented a major terrorist attack in the volatile southern republic of Kabardino-Balkaria by killing six militants.

The militants were in possession of a hand-made explosive device equal to 10 kg of TNT and were planning a terrorist attack on security forces in the region, the committee said.

Five security forces officers were wounded in a shootout with the militants in a forest.

“The eliminated members of the militant group took part in numerous terrorist attacks, including blowing up a chairlift in February, killings and attempted killings of tourists, social activists and law enforcers,” the committe said.

Read more.

China, Russia and Brazil, against sanctioning Syrian regime

“There is no consensus”, stated the Brazilian foreign minister, Antonio de Aguiar Patriota, speaking about the European proposal for the UN’s resolution to condemn the Syrian regime for the violent repression of demonstrations. The diplomat stated that “it is unclear whether Lebanon, the only Arab country on the Security Council, would support it or not. “

European countries of the UN executive body (France, Britain, Germany and Portugal) supported by the United States have submitted a draft resolution to the 15-member Council to condemn the government of Bashar Assad. However, both China and Russia have veto power. Both of them and Brazil have expressed their misgivings.

The 15 countries were due to reconvene on Wednesday to address the issue, although the vote could take several days. At present the highest international security body is composed, in addition to the above countries, also by Bosnia-Herzegovina, Gabon, Nigeria, Colombia, Germany, India, Portugal and South Africa.

More here.

Just in case there is precendent for them and friends, don’t you think?

Related: ‘Reforming’ Syria fills graves with dissidents; Hillary Clinton warns Assad that he’s ‘nearly’ forfeited his legitimacy.

South Korea warns North Korea it will ‘sternly retaliate’ to any further provocation

This is an update on this story:

Two South Korean marines were killed and 17 others injured, as well as three civilians, after North Korea fired dozens of artillery shells onto a Yeonpyeong Island in the Yellow sea, 50 miles off the South’s northwest coast in an area close to a disputed sea border.The attack, which comes days after it emerged that North Korea was pressing ahead with its illegal nuclear programme, marks a serious further escalation of tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

A presidential statement said the shelling “constitutes a clear armed provocation.”

via South Korea warns North Korea it will ‘sternly retaliate’ to any further provocation – Telegraph.

China, meanwhile has shown its real position with the statement:

We hope the relevant parties do more to contribute to peace and stability on the Korean peninsula,” said a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, adding that China was still seeking information on the clash. “The situation needs to be verified,” he said.

Oh, sure. It needs to be verified. The attacked needs to do more to contribute to peace and stability the in the area. Yeah, I’m sure that if China would be the attacked, Chinese Govt would also say that they do need to do more for peace and stability.

Russia has also Warned “against military escalation in the area“.

What assholes. What they should do is press North Korea against producing that “military escalation“, as it was the one who attacked. And it was not the first time.

More here.

Russian Reporter Oleg Kashin Beaten Into Coma

Just two days after a security camera caught two men beating journalist Oleg Kashin unconscious on a Moscow street, a second reporter who wrote about a controversial road proposed for a beloved Moscow forest has suffered a concussion at the hands of unknown assailants.

Kashin is in a medically induced coma in a Moscow hospital after a weekend assault that left him with a severed finger, a broken leg and fractured jaws. Video from a closed circuit camera of two men holding Kashin down and beating him with an iron bar that had been hidden in a bouquet of flowers has appeared on a Russian web site and state television. The attack lasted a minute and a half.

I hope that he can work again,” Kashin’s father Vladimir told ABC News. “I hope that he can survive.”

I don’t know why exactly he was attacked,” said fellow journalist Yvgenia Albats, an investigative reporter and editor-in-chief of the magazine New Times. “I know for sure that he was attacked because of his work.”

Kashin has reported on many controversial topics, including political youth groups, but speculation about the cause for the assault centers on Kashin’s coverage of the Khimki road project, a proposed multi-billion dollar highway through the heart of a “green belt” birch forest on the city’s outskirts. Logging for the road began in July, but after fierce public protest construction was temporarily suspended by Russian president Dmitry Medvedev. Kashin, who works for the prominent business newspaper Kommersant, had written about a July protest against the road, conducting an interview with a blogger who said he had led an attack on a government building in Khimki.

Backers of the project stand to lose a huge investment if the highway is scrapped. The project is supported by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, and after one of Kashin’s articles on Khimki, the pro-Kremlin youth group Young Guard posted a piece online with the headline “Journalist Betrayers Must Be Punished” as well as a picture of Kashin with the label “Will Be Punished.” Young Guard has denied involvement in the attack on Kashin and condemned it.

via Russian Reporter Oleg Kashin Beaten Into Coma – ABC News.

The limits of freedom of expression should be attacking other people’s lifes. You can’t call for “punishments” of “journalist betrayers”, because they are investigating something you don’t like anyone to investigate, and then, when something like that, has happened, take the unhappy mask and condemn it. I’m sure they are really happy after this: even his father doesn’t know if the journalist will survive. So it’s probable that he won’t be able to work either.

Russia: Churches set ablaze in Muslim Caucasus

Three churches were set ablaze on Monday in Russia’s mainly Muslim North Caucasus region where Moscow is trying to tame a spreading Islamist insurgency. Two Russian Orthodox churches and one Baptist Church were set alight in the predominantly Muslim province of Karachayevo-Cherkessia, Russian news agencies said, adding no one was hurt in the attacks.

An unknown group of people set fire to the Russian Orthodox church in the village of Ordzhonikidze, it is practically completely burnt,” Interfax reported, citing Kazim Baybanov, a spokesman for the local ministry of interior affairs. Vandalism of churches is rare in Russia’s mainly Muslim North Caucasus, where Christian communities live amongst Muslims. Continue reading

Russia: Moscow Officials Decide Not To Build Mosque In Park

This is an update on this story:

Moscow’s Southeastern District has decided not to build a new mosque in a park after numerous complaints by local residents concerned about the potential increase in traffic and loss of green space, RFE/RL’s Russian Service reports.

We have looked through the petitions sent by residents and came to the conclusion that there’s a possibility to relocate the [location of the planned] mosque,” Maria Yermakova, spokeswoman for Moscow’s Southeastern District, told RFE/RL. “There’s still no information about how and when — a final decision about the construction of the mosque will be made following public hearings.”

Yermakova said the decision on a new location for the mosque has been returned to the Moscow city administration for review, which includes the mayor’s office.

via Moscow Officials Decide Not To Build Mosque In Park – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty © 2010.

Russia: Moscow Has a Mosque Controversy Too

Moscow Has a Mosque Controversy Too – World News – ABC News Radio:

“The Moscow media have already christened this patch of green ‘the Russian Ground Zero’ in a reflection of strife over the mosque being built near Ground Zero, the site where the twin towers of the World Trade Center stood in New York City before the terror attack of 9/11.

The country’s largest online newspaper, Gazeta.ru, drew parallels with other European controversies surrounding Islam: The burqa ban in France and the immigration debate now raging in Germany. Europeans are frightened of Islam because the religion’s values are utterly foreign to them, the article said. ‘Now we are experiencing something similar in Moscow and St. Petersburg.'”

Another moron. No one is afraid of Islam. Every Western human being with common sense is angry at politicians saying they support separation from State and Religion. But there come several barbaricIslamic clerics” who are supporting seggregation of women and men and Muslims and non-Muslims, Jihad, the Caliphate, stoning of “dirty women” and several other pre-historic ideas and, as they threat with “riots“, “violence” and several other “peaceful” and “loving” things, and end “convincing” those same politicians that they should implement their religious law. If those same politicians would be somewhat coherent would fight whatever attempt to hack that separation. Of course, they aren’t.

According to estimates by the Moscow council of muftis (equivalent to a council of deacons in the Christian faith), up to 20 million Muslims live in Russia today. Muslims have dominated some parts of the country for centuries. While the predominantly Muslim Republic of Tatarstan in the Volga region is regarded as moderate, guerrillas are fighting to set up an Islamic state in the northern Caucasus. Islamic extremists were behind the suicide bomb attacks that shook the Russian capital this March and killed 40 people.

The planned mosque would only be the fifth in Moscow, even though this metropolis of 10.5 million has more than 1.5 million Muslim residents. In comparison, Berlin, which has a proportion of Muslims amounting to less than a sixth of Moscow’s, has at least six large mosques. That is why the Moscow council of muftis wants more mosques to be built and says Moscow should have up to 40.

The Moscow mufti council, which is responsible for building the mosque, is convinced that nationalists are behind the protests against their house of worship. They say that the mosque will be built at the edge of the park anyway, leaving plenty of room for recreation and dog walkers. “The problem lies elsewhere,” says Ildar Aljautdinov, the imam at Moscow’s largest mosque. He warns that some Muslims may become radicalized if they don’t have mosques to worship in. “We must build more mosques,” he says. “Otherwise something bad will replace the religion.”

See? Let us build the mosque or else! Imagine what these Muslims would tell if Christians in Saudi Arabia would do the same. Laugh at them and then call the Police against Vice to arrest them. Even if they are foreigners.

Chechenya: After attack, what’s next for Kadyrov?

Grozny parliament attacked – what next for Kadyrov? | RUSSIA | The Moscow News:

Ramzan Kadyrov

“away from the tensions of the region other voices suggest that Kadyrov – who has boasted of being up to his elbows in blood as he cracks down on extremists – is unable to maintain control through his strong man image.

Stefan Meister, of the German Council on Foreign Relations in Berlin, warns that today’s attack shows signs of vulnerability around Chechnya’s leader.

Now we have an attack on parliament and we see that Kadyrov is not able to secure the main institutions of the Republic of Chechnya,” Meister told The Moscow News.

It’s not only down to his hardline position, but we can see that it isn’t working. It worked for a while but it wasn’t able to resolve the long-term problems of the region.”

Although Meister feels the Kremlin will be “pretty shocked” by today’s attack, he adds that there is no immediate alternative to Kadyrov.

It’s really difficult to find a person who is strong enough. I don’t think they will be able to find any one else.””

Background: Chechenya: Parliament and Ministry of Agriculture attacked by Islamists, 6 people feared killed.

Chechenya: Parliament and Ministry of Agriculture attacked by Islamists, 6 people feared killed

2 killed in suicide bombing in Chechen parliament shooting: Russia media (UPDATE-2) | Russia |

Grozny
A suicide bomber detonated himself on Tuesday at the door of the regional parliament of Russia’s North Caucasus republic of Chechnya, killing two people, the RIA Novosti news agency reported.

Two or three of his accomplices broke into the parliament and began shooting, said an unnamed law enforcement source, Xinhua reported.

Shots were heard starting from 09:00 a.m. Moscow time (0500 GMT). Currently the clashes inside the parliament building have been over, but sporadic shots could still be heard from the scene.

To date no final casualties were available.

The area has been blocked with all personnel evacuated, said the source, adding that an special operation, led by Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, was underway to eliminate the insurgents.

Earlier, the Interfax news agency reported, quoting an unnamed law enforcement source, that some shots were heard in the parliament, killing unspecified number of people.

Russian Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev, who was currently in the regional capital of Grozny, has been informed about the incident, said the source.

Italian media is reporting that it was an assault on the Parliament by Chechen guerrilla militants, that is, Chechenyan Islamic terrorists. They report that there was a suicide terrorist who killed the two men from security who were at the Parliament’s entry door. Parliament’s president was inside the building when they stormed it, but according to sources he hasn’t been killed.

JPost reports that there are at least 4 killed. It also adds: “A separate group of attackers stormed the Ministry of Agriculture building, where they are fighting off police, Itar-Tass reported, citing a ministry source“.

UPDATE: The Telegraph reports: 6 people feared killed.

UPDATE – 2:  Of the six people killed, 4 were attackers, according to latest reports.

Russia fought two wars with Chechen separatists in the 1990s before installing a loyal government there in 2000.
Since then, most of the Islamist insurgents have moved over into the neighboring Russian republics of Dagestan and Ingushetia, with terrorist attacks seldom striking at the heart of Grozny in recent years.

Russia: Turkish influence grows in Caucasian Republics

…as some analysts pointed out from the very beginning, there were serious reasons to question this assumption and its utility as a guide to policy. On the one hand, Iran’s brand of Islam had relatively few adherents in the post-Soviet states (only Azerbaijan had a Shiite majority) and Iran’s radicalism put off far more people there than it attracted.

And on the other, Turkey was never as secular as many in the West had assumed and has become less so with each passing year, and Turks because of their linguistic and cultural ties with five of the six Muslim majority former Soviet republics have enjoyed an influence there, on religion as well as on other matters, far greater than Iran.

In the 1990s, for example, Muslims in the post-Soviet states, including the Russian Federation, often travelled to Turkey either to study in medrassahs there or a way station on their route to Muslim educational institutions in the Middle East and Southwest Asia, including Afghanistan and Pakistan. Almost none of these people went to or through Iran.

And both the Turkish government and Turkish Muslim groups not only provided scholarship assistance to these people and religious literature for those back in the former Soviet republics but also provided enormous funds for the construction of mosques and religious schools in these countries, far more than Iran did.

One result of this difference is that the largest and most prominent mosque in the Azerbaijani capital of Baku was built by the Turks and one of the largest commercial facilities was the Bank of Iran, precisely the opposite of what Western governments and experts had expected and predicted.

Today brought two new reports which suggest that Turkey continue to play a far greater role in the rebirth of Islam in the former Soviet republics, including the Russian Federation. In the first, Gidayat Orudzhev, the chairman of the Azerbaijani State Committee on Work with Religious Structures, presented a report on foreign financing of mosques in that country.

According to Orudzhev, Kuwait has built the most, 71, but Turkey is in second place with 21, while Saudi Arabia has financed only one. He did not mention Iran’s role in this regard, but in the last decade at least, it has certainly been significantly smaller of that of Turkey and Turkish groups however much Iran has tried.

The second report highlights Turkey’s role among Muslims in the unstable North Caucasus republics of the Russian Federation. This week, a group of Turkish Muslim leaders and businessmen visited Ingushetia along with Bekir Gerek, the counselor for religious affairs of the Turkish embassy in Moscow.

The Turkish group was received by Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, the head of the republic, who discussed with them the building of a new mosque in the republic capital, Magas, something that the Muslims of that republic have long sought. The Turks promised to fund the construction of the mosque as “a gift” to the Ingush Muslims.

The two sides also discussed the possibility of young Ingush receiving Muslim higher education in Turkey, something Gerek and his Turkish colleagues said they backed and would be happy to take full responsibility for funding, something that will make such training especially attractive given the high level of unemployment in Ingushetia.

Source.

Russia: Senior Jihadi fighter killed in Daguestan

Reuters:

Russia’s counterterrorist forces killed the head of a rebel group in the North Caucasus province of Dagestan on Saturday, after a suicide bomber wounded at least 26 people, Russian news agencies reported.

Alibek Abunazarov was on the federal wanted list for a long time. According to our information, he was involved in several terrorist acts, (as well as) attacks on, and killings of policemen,” the state-run RIA Novosti agency quoted a local law enforcement official as saying.

Three other rebels were killed in the same operation, local agencies reported.

The suicide bomber had earlier set off explosives after approaching police guarding a site where security forces had fought suspected militants late on Friday, Interfax reported, citing the Russian National Anti-Terrorism Committee.

The blast wounded 13 police officers and 13 civilians, Interfax said. Other reports said as many as 30 people had been hurt.

An insurgency is raging across the mainly Muslim region, where rebels angry about poverty and fueled by the ideology of global jihad want to carve out an independent state governed by Islamic law.

Russia: Expert warns conflicts about mosque building could trigger religious war

People protest against the construction of a mosque in south-eastern district of Moscow

GeorgianDaily.com:

Increasingly sharp disputes in many cities of the Russian Federation over whether Muslims should be allowed to build a mosque, disputes that have already spilled over into violence in Syktyvkar and Moscow this week, threaten to unleash “a religious war” across the country, experts say.

The number of people now directly involved in these disputes is small and “real tensions” at the societal level” are not intense, but Aleksey Levinson, a sociologist at Moscow’s Levada Center, argues that the situation could easily get out of control because of the way the media is playing up these disagreements (www.svpressa.ru/society/article/30919/).

Leaflet of protest in Syktyvkar against mosque construction

Speaking to “Svobodnaya pressa” journalist Anton Razmakhnin, Levinson suggests that “those who have decided now to play the anti-Islamic card are taking a great risk.” In response to such “aggressive” opposition to mosques, Russia “can get not just a war in the Caucasus but something much worse a full-scale jihad in every city where there is a conflict of this kind.”

In both the Moscow and Syktyvkar cases, Razmakhnin notes by way of introduction, the number of people involved on both sides of the disputes has been small. Moreover, these disputes have been going on for some time without attracting much attention. But coverage of massive Muslim participation in the Uraza-Bayram celebrations triggered something

The celebration of Eid al-Adha in Moscow

When Razmakhnin asks Levinson why he was so pessimistic about the future, the latter replies that was “because “fundamentalist Islam and precisely this trend is becoming more active … after the protests is a very strong organizing and cementing phenomenon,” one that has “all the signs of a young, active and militant religion” and that no one knows how to stop.

It’s possible that this conflict don’t degenerate in an open war. But in cities where the local council could deny the possibility of building a mosque, we could see unrest and riots. Of course, Russian Govt knows perfectly how to silence this kind of protests at least in an MSM level. But in the end, eventually they will be known.

Photos: Svpressa.ru.

Russia: Moscow Muslims could end up praying in churches

Just the same happens every day in Muslim countries: letting non-Muslims pray in their mosques. Oh, no wait.. From Spero News:
Muslims in Moscow may be forced to pray in Orthodox churches because of a lack of mosques, though they would prefer not arrive at such an “extreme” decision. The warning comes from the imam of the main mosque in the Russian capital Ildar Ayautdinov, responding to citizens’ protests against the planned construction of a place of Islamic worship in the district of Tekstilschiki. The Orthodox Church says it is ready to accept the Muslim faithful, but scholars of Islam argue that Muslim religious leaders are magnifying the situation which in reality is not so dramatic.
“Moscow is the only place in the world where over one million Muslims are served in only four mosques. We lack premises for praying. Muslims are allowed to conduct their religious ceremonies in Orthodox churches, but we would rather avoid this extreme measure, “he said yesterday in an interview with Russian daily Ayautdinov Metro. On Sept. 11, residents of Tekstilschiki took to the streets, along the Volga road, to say no to the plans to build a mosque in a green area, the only one for several kilometres. According to locals, who are gathering signatures for a petition, the mosque “would create parking problems and would represent a threat to the owners of dogs”, animals considered incarnation of the devil by the faithful of Islam. Previously, the residents themselves had asked to have an Orthodox chapel in the area, but permission was denied. For their part, supporters of the construction of the mosque, such as Arthur Urmanshin, ensure that originally there were more mosques in Moscow.
… According to the expert on Islam Roman Silantyev, interviewed by Interfax, the demand for new mosques by Muslims in Moscow is baseless. “It ‘s time to end any speculation about discrimination against Muslims in the capital,” he said. He corrects the mufti Ayautdinov, adding that the actual number of Muslims is estimated “around 400 thousand and there are not four mosques available, but six.” Besides these, he continues, there are dozens of other small mosques and prayer rooms, which are sufficient for the entire community.

Russia: prosecutor charges HuT members with terrorism in Bashkortostan

Map of Russia - Republic of Bashkortostan (2008-03).svg”The suspects deliberately performed clandestine anti-Russian and anti-constitutional activities. They incited religious hatred by propagating their doctrines among the population, recruited new followers and prepared and disseminated extremist information,” the Russian Prosecutor General’s office said today.
Hizb ut-Tahrir, which calls itself a political party, is not classified as a terrorist organisation by the United States.
The group, which seeks to unite all Muslim countries into a unitary Islamic state, claims that it seeks to achieve its goals through peaceful means.
Russia, however, accuses the movement of having links to radical Islamist groups in Chechnya, and it was placed on a list of banned organisations by the country’s Supreme Court in 2003.

HuT is the same group that held an act in Indonesia to push for a “Global Caliphate”, have posted propganda extremist videos on Youtube (with mentions to European colonialism and support for Palestinian terrorists) and have incited war on the West.
Not only the Urals has seen a growth in HuT activities. Central Asia is seeing also a growing influence of this group, after receiving ex-jihadists from Afghanistan.
Related links:

  1. Bashkortostan | Wikipedia
  2. HuT America: Preaching hate, building a caliphate | IPTWhile HT (the “Party of Liberation”) says it is committed to advancing radical Islam by nonviolent means, it advocates violence (see here, here and here) and its prominent alumni include terrorists like Khalid Sheikh Mohammad and Abu Musab Zarqawi along with suicide bombers.
  3. HuT’s activities in the United States: The Jamestown Foundation.
  4. Hibz ut-Tahrir al-Islami | GlobalSecurity.org.
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Syria: columnist for Govt daily Al-Thawra blames US, Israel for Moscow bombings

Ibrahim Za’ir, columnist for the Syrian government daily Al-Thawra, stated

that the U.S. had carried out the attacks with the aim of forcing Russia into making concessions to help resolve the crisis with Iran, and also to push Russia into signing the arms reduction treaty: “Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov declared that regional and international elements may have been behind the criminal operation that caused… the killing of 40 innocent civilians…

“Like the innocent victims of terror operations in Moscow, Dagestan, and other places in the world, the perpetrators of these operations also did not know the political goals of the operations [that they carried out]. [These perpetrators are] young men or women, in the full flower of their youth, who have been brainwashed with hatred and whose minds have been filled with elements of religious and ideological consciousness removed from the textual context of the books [holy to] the monotheistic religions – particularly [those] of the religion of Islam [i.e. the Koran] that bans the killing of innocents.

“But the planners of the terror operations know full well how to exploit the religion to accomplish their unique goals. It is they who are the most distant from Islam and its commandments… [The fact is that] the leader of the terror operations in the Caucasus, who was killed by Russian intelligence about a month before the recent Moscow operations, was… Sa’id Buryatsky, a Russian whose real name is Alexander Tikhomirov, who was connected to several foreign intelligence networks, particularly the American CIA.

“The U.S.’s condemnation of this does not mislead us. Many terror organizations have weapons and explosives… manufactured by the U.S. and Israel, sent to them via Georgia and other countries close to the U.S.

“Against this backdrop, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s trip to Venezuela to sign 30 agreements with President Hugo Chavez can be understood. Several U.S. and Western newspapers [saw these agreements] as Russia’s response to Washington, and as an indirect accusation against it, vis-à-vis the two Moscow subway bombings… [Washington had] hoped that this terror operation would pressure the Russian leadership to make many concessions in all things regarding the signing of the Strategic Missile Arms Limitation Treaty – SALT II [sic][1] with Russia not demanding that the U.S. stop its missile defense project in Eastern Europe and change its position towards Iran, and [forcing] Russia to impose harsh sanctions on Iran [in accordance with Washington's wishes]…

Syria, that country which is a dictatorship and which is giving Scud missiles to Hizbullah.

Russia: peace activist helping Chechen terrorists?

In this photo released by Attorney Tom Nelson shows Pirouz Sedaghaty, also known as Pete Seda. Seda, former director of a defunct Islamic charity, has decided to return to the United States to face federal tax charges accusing him of sending money to Muslim fighters in Chechnya, his attorney said Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2007. (AP Photo/Attorney Tom Nelson)
Federal prosecutors are continuing to gather evidence they believe suggests former Ashland peace activist Pete Seda was well aware he was helping fund Muslim terrorists in Russia when he allegedly helped launder donations to the rebels through his Ashland charity in 2000.
Court records filed this week detail how one of Seda’s ex-wives was living at his Ashland residence with him while possibly helping translate pro-holy war messages for a Web site used by Chechen rebels fighting Russians in 2000.
Other records detail that photographs of captured and dead Russian soldiers fighting Chechen jihadists were discovered on Seda’s computers at his Siskiyou Boulevard house that also served as the Oregon chapter office of the Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation.
Russian agents in 2008 were provided access to those computers as they looked into the activities of Seda and his foundation as part of their own anti-terrorism probes, according to a court ruling issued Tuesday.
“Those hard drives contained substantial evidence of interest to the Russian government in its on-going efforts to counter terrorism in the Caucasus,” U.S. District Judge Michael Hogan wrote in a Tuesday ruling denying Seda’s attorney’s motion to suppress evidence in his case.

…In court papers filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Eugene, Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Cardani sought a trial subpoena for Radmila Balobina, who was labeled in the filing as one of Seda’s former wives who was last known to be living in an unknown location in Egypt.

Prosecutors believe that Balobina lived with Seda in Ashland in and around 2000 while she allegedly used an e-mail alias of “ptichka” to do translation work for a Web site identified as Qoqaz.com.

Cardani’s motion identified Qoqaz.com as a portal used by Chechen jihadists “to deliver pro-mujahideen messages to interested followers throughout the world.”

Background here and here.

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Russia: why studying Alexander Tikomirov is important

WaPo runs a very interesting peace on the figure of this Chechen terrorist, called the “the Che of Islam“. A convert to Islam, in only two years he became a simbol for Chechen terrorists. He was killed on March 2nd and was considered behing the Nevsky train bombing. He had nothing in common, at first sight with Chechenya (he was from Siberia) but he ended being the “odious terrorist”. That’s why is interesting, because it tells us that nearly anyone can change to the “dark side”:

Alexander Tikhomirov / Said Buryatsky

How the schoolboy whom neighbors called Sascha became the tech-savvy militant known as Sayid Buryatsky remains a question wrapped in rumor and speculation. But the outline of Tikhomirov’s journey from the Siberian steppes to the mountains of Chechnya provides a sense of the challenge that radical Islam poses in Russia and the speed with which the insurgency in the nation’s southwest is changing.

In less than two years with the rebels, Tikhomirov became their most effective propagandist, drawing in young Muslims with his fluent Russian, colloquial interpretations of Islam and mastery of the Internet. When security forces gunned him down last month at age 27, the guerrillas immediately cast him as a martyr.

Even in death, he remains influential. The rebel leader Doku Umarov has vowed fresh attacks in the Russian heartland by the brigade of suicide bombers that Tikhomirov helped revive. And he remains a digital legend, with his writings and videos preserved on the Web and his DVDs sold outside mosques across the former Soviet Union

… An Uzbek preacher named Bakhtiyar Umarov moved to his city about the time he converted, and Tikhomirov studied with him, acquaintances said. After Umarov caused a stir by trying to build a mosque, Russia deported the preacher to Uzbekistan, where he was jailed on charges of “terrorist propaganda.” But his defenders insist that he is a moderate and could not have radicalized Tikhomirov.

In his late teens, Tikhomirov moved to Moscow, where he attended an Islamic college that the authorities later closed in a crackdown on suspected extremism. He then traveled to Cairo, where he studied Arabic and attended lectures by Muslim scholars, one of whom he cited years later to justify violence in the name of Islam. 

… Russia’s traditional Islamic leaders have tried to steer young people toward moderate views, but a severe shortage of mosques, due in part to state limits, has made that difficult. In Moscow, six mosques serve as many as 3 million believers, the largest Muslim population of any city in Europe.

Aslam Ezhaev, director of an Islamic publishing house, said Tikhomirov voiced frustration with Muslim officialdom and eventually returned to Buryatia, where he took a job as a warehouse guard and offered to translate Arabic books for him.

Ezhaev suggested that Tikhomirov start a podcast for his Web site, Radio Islam. Tikhomirov proved be a talented preacher; his lectures were an immediate hit.

Ezhaev said he opposed violence and forbade Tikhomirov to discuss jihad. “It was easy for him to stay within the limits,” he said. “I didn’t see any signs of fanaticism.”

Well, it seems he was already a fanatic. Ezhaev says that “he opposed violence and forbade Tikhomirov to discuss jihad”. Why?

“While I am alive,” (Tikhomirov) wrote in December, “I will do everything possible so that the ranks of Riyad-us Saliheen are broadened and new waves of mujaheddin go on to martyrdom operations.”

On March 2, when security forces surrounded him and other fighters in a village in Ingushetia, Tikhomirov recorded a final sermon on his mobile phone, officials said. The authorities recovered the phone, along with a 50-liter barrel of explosives.

Photo | The Telegraph.

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Russia: Muslim parishes refusing to register or subordinate themselves to official hierarchy

Saint Petersburg MosqueSaint Petersburg Mosque. Image via Wikipedia

An increasing number of Russia’s Muslim parishes are electing not to register with the Russian government as the law requires or to subordinate themselves to any MSD, thus making their activities far more autonomous and effectively recreating the Soviet-era division between “official” and “unofficial” Islam.

In Soviet times, many Muslim believers refused to register their communities with the state, something that was often difficult if not impossible, or to cooperate with the MSDs, institutions that they frequently and reasonably viewed as adjuncts of the state in its efforts to control the faithful and to reduce Islam from a way of life to ritual.

While those who refused to register were often persecuted by the government for their activities, their communities often were the most vibrant part of the Islamic umma. And when it became possible for them to operate more openly and officially, they were the source of much of the dramatic increase in the number of mosques in the Russian Federation.

Moreover, in the new post-Soviet reality, many of these parishes were willing to work with and even subordinate themselves to the MSDs, viewing these organizations as no longer quasi-state agencies designed to limit Islam but rather as relatively independent bodies interested in promoting that.
Now, there is evidence that this is changing. In a recent interview, Galimzhan Bikmullin, the mufti of the Tyumen MSD, said that the number of officially registered Muslim communities in the southern part of his district had fallen from 81 to 48 since 2003 but that “in fact,” the number operating there has not declined but increased (www.islamnews.ru/news-23366.html).
Why being like the rest and abide by the laws of the country?
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