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    » 12/12/2013, 00.00

    RUSSIA

    Young members of Islamist group arrested in connection with Church burning in Tatarstan



    The Ministry of Interior reports the incidents without specifying which group they belong to. The young men are allegedly responsible for two of the seven church fires recorded this year in the predominantly Muslim Russian republic.

    Moscow (AsiaNews Agencies) - Russian police arrested a number of young men belonging to an undefined "non-traditional Islamic group" on suspicion of arson attacks in November against Christian churches in the autonomous republic of Tatarstan, Russian agency Ria Novosti reported, citing local police.

    A group of men, aged 22 to 35, allegedly set two Orthodox churches on fire in mid-November using Molotov cocktails, the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

    A wooden church in the village of Lenino was completely destroyed, whilst in the second case a guard managed to put out a fire in a church in the town of Chistopol, the ministry said.

    Although a predominantly Muslim republic, Tatarstan has never had any major problems with religious coexistence. However, a total of seven churches suffered arson attacks this year. Nothing like it occurred in 2012.

    The Attorney General's Office pointed the finger at "unidentified extremists" who now could get up to 20 years in prison.

    Muslim religious authorities have also come under attack. Last year, the republic's the most senior Muslim cleric survived an assassination attempt, which the authorities blamed on radical groups from the North Caucasus. (N.A.)

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    See also

    04/03/2011 RUSSIA
    North Caucasus: civilians taking up arms against extremists
    In Kabardino-Balkaria, vigilante group sets up civilian militias to fight Muslim rebels. More violence looms on the horizon.

    19/02/2010 RUSSIA – ISLAM
    Supreme Muslim Council of Russia to stop extremism
    The new body will play coordinating role. It will be co-chaired by the leaders of three existing Muslim organisations. Medvedev and Putin want to promote a Russian way for Islam.

    29/03/2010 RUSSIA
    Moscow, two explosions in the Metro kill 37 people
    The first at Lubyanka station, above the former KGB headquarters. The second at Park Kultury. The first attack by a suicide bomber. So far no claims of responsibility, but Chechen irredentism suspected.

    16/09/2010 ISLAM - INDIA
    Kashmir: Muslims try to burn a Christian school (only in name)
    It is the St Francis School, owned by Muslims, who use the Christian name to attract more students. Four dead and 19 injured in Mendhar, while protests spread in Kashmir. The influence of fundamentalist groups on the masses, dragged from their villages to demonstrate. Missionary priest Jim Borst under police protection.

    16/07/2013 RUSSIA - ISLAM
    For Islamic scholar, Islamic headwear is not a Russian Muslim tradition
    For Rais Sulemainov, an Islamic scholar, those who defend the hijab for schoolgirls are "demagogues and populists". In fact, even before the Russian Revolution, Muslim women did not wear hijabs, preferring instead Russian national headwear. Tatarstan's only Islamic school has only 50-70 students.



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