04/12/2012, 00.00
RUSSIA
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Leading member of Moscow’s Muslim community killed

by Nina Achmatova
Metin Mekhtiev was from Azerbaijan. Suspicions of yet another racially motivated attack perpetrated by militant ultranationalist. In 2011, 21 murders were racially motivated.

Moscow (AsiaNews) - A leading exponent of the Russian Muslim community was stabbed and killed in Moscow near the Belorusskaja station. Many suspect that the crime was perpetrated by militant right-wing ultranationalists. Metin Mekhtiev (pictured) was a native of Azerbaijan. According to preliminary reports, on the night between 10 and 11 April, he was waiting for the arrival of his wife and son of two months at the station. Ria Novosti agency police sources report  that his body bore several stab wounds on the neck and face.

Mekhtiev was head of international department of the Islamic Cultural Centre of Russia, an organization founded in the Federation in 1991 with support from the Saudi embassy and banned by the Russian Supreme Court last year. According to the group, the judges' initiative was instigated by the Russian secret services. According to website Aze.az, Mekhtiev worked with all major Muslim organizations in the country and was very active in working with students and young people from the Caucasus. "It is a brutal, barbaric and medieval murder," reported the head of the Islamic Cultural Centre in Moscow, Abdul-Wahid Niyazov, according to whom the man was attacked by a gang of five persons, one of which was a young woman.

For now, the police have released no details on the possible motive for the killing, but among the Russian bloggers many support the hypothesis that crime is linked to the ultra-nationalists.

After the collapse of the USSR, Russia experienced a sharp rise in nationalist sentiment. Racially motivated violence killed 21 "non-Slavic-looking" people in 2011 alone, a figure down from 42 similar murders recorded in 2010, according to data organization Sova.

 

 

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