» 12/04/2013, 00.00
Russia: seven churches burned in one year in Tatarstan
Political and spiritual leaders concerned about rising fundamentalism in the Russian autonomous republic with a Muslim majority. Spiritual leaders invite people not to give in to provocations. Local priest: " The Wahhabis are the culprits."
- Churches burned, attacks foiled and increased pressure on Christians to
convert to Islam. In
Tatarstan - autonomous republic of the Russian Federation, with a Muslim
majority - the extremism alarm is increasing. So
much so that the President Rustam Minnikhanov has expressed concern and
promised to personally follow the investigations.
for the fires, and in various parts of the region, the charges have been formalized as vandalism , and arson,
in violation of freedom of conscience
and religion. Investigators
insist, however , that they be considered as "acts of terrorism" .
last year saw Christian seven parishes torched. The
last two episodes occurred on 28 and 29 November, as reported by the Regnum.ru news agency. In 2012 there
was a similar case. The
attorney general pointed the finger at "unidentified extremists" and the
culprits risk up to 20 years in prison .
to the newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda, investigators are following the trail of
Wahhabi groups That
those responsible for the attacks are Muslims adherents to radical Islam with
the support of the local clergy. In
an interview with Interfax , Father Dmitri Sizov , pastor of Pestrechinsky,
said that " the whole community knows that it is the work of the Wahhabis
to the priest, in some predominantly Christian villages of Tatarstan "fundamentalist
agitators roam, inviting the faithful to convert to Islam". "The
priests remain silent because they are afraid of being accused of incitement to
religious hatred", added Fr . Sizov .
Minnikhanov has offered a reward of one million rubles for those who provide
useful information to identify those responsible for the attacks, and a
criminal investigation for terrorist attacks was opened, after the discovery of
unexploded ordnance in the districts of Alexeyevsky and Nizhnekamsk , at the end of November .
their part, the local religious leaders - Muslims and Orthodox - have appealed
to their communities not to give in to what they call "provocations"
aimed at "destroying the good interfaith relations developed over the
centuries in the Volga region". "The
vandalism against objects and places of worship is a direct insult to the
sentiments of the faithful and those responsible for these acts deserve wide
public condemnation ," the Metropolitan Anastasius and the mufti of
Tatarstan Kamil Samigullin, wrote in a joint statement.
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