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    » 12/04/2013, 00.00

    RUSSIA

    Russia: seven churches burned in one year in Tatarstan

    Nina Achmatova

    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."

    Moscow (AsiaNews) - 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.

    As 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" .

    The 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 .

    According 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 ." According 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 .

    President 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 .

    For 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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    See also

    03/12/2014 INDIA
    Bishop of Delhi: We strongly condemn the blasphemous and hateful burning of our church
    Msgr. Anil Couto underlines the seriousness of the arson attack on a place of worship in the capital of India. President of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC): "Failure of the central government and the local administration. The authorities must protect the places of worship."

    26/11/2008 INDIA
    Orissa, tally following 3 months of violence against Christians
    118 deaths have been certified, but it is feared that there have been at least 500, with many bodies being hidden or cremated. More than 54,000 have been displaced. The violence continues, although with less frequency, in part because of the impunity enjoyed by the attackers.

    02/02/2011 SRI LANKA
    Protest in Colombo after offices of opposition paper set on fire
    Among the protesters also the wife of General Sarath Fonseka, who was also supported by the Lanka-e-News website. Associations point to the government, responsible for wanting to restrict freedom of press and expression. The attack is the latest in a series against journalists and media.

    11/03/2013 PAKISTAN
    Pakistan: Christians and Muslims protest against Lahore arson attack
    The final toll is 178 homes destroyed. In Karachi and Lahore Christian schools closed as a sign of respect. In Faisalabad, thousands of people demonstrate against the violent episode. Muslim activists for human rights: "The police knew but did nothing. Our political leaders have to leave."

    01/04/2011 RUSSIA
    Moscow will have 60 new churches and still no new mosque
    The decision of Mayor Sobianin, approval by the Patriarchate. Muslim leaders watch but also warn the Patriarchate against ostracizing the Islamic community and thus triggering a "time bomb".



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