Russia: ‘Religion Of Peace’ Fighters Kill Imam For Preferring Peace
By DAVID M. HERSZENHORN – “MOSCOW — A self-described guerrilla fighter urging strict adherence to Islamic law has claimed responsibility for the killing last month of one Muslim leader and the attempted murder of another, in Tatarstan, a region in central Russia that prides itself on a tradition of religious tolerance.
‘On July 19, 2012, on my orders an operation was conducted against the enemies of Allah,’ the guerrilla fighter, who identified himself as Muhammad, emir of the mujahedeen of Tatarstan, said in a video posted on an Islamist Internet site that focuses on the predominantly Muslim Caucasus region, including Chechnya.
In the video, he is shown sitting in the woods, with an automatic rifle propped against one knee. He specifically named the victims of the attack last month: Valiulla Yakupov, the cleric in charge of Islamic education in Tatarstan, who was shot and killed outside his home in Kazan, the regional capital; and Ildus Faizov, the chief mufti in the region, who survived a car-bomb attack less than an hour later.
‘All praise Allah,’ the jihadist, Muhammad, said in the video. ‘We believe the operation was a success.’ He also warned of further violence against Muslim leaders who do not adhere to Shariah, the strict legal code of Islam based on the Koran.
‘If any of the imams do not want or cannot carry out the points established by Shariah, they should leave their posts,’ he said. ‘That way, you will be protected from the mujahedeen.’…
The motive of the attacks appeared to be efforts by the two Muslim leaders to combat the spread of radical Islam in the region. Tatarstan has long prided itself on the generally peaceful coexistence of moderate Muslims and Christians. But the region, about 500 miles east of Moscow, has been struggling to cope with the rise of radical Islam, which is espoused by rebel fighters in the Caucasus.” Read more.
Flashback: Dagestan: Imam Standing Up For Peace Is Violently Gunned Down – “An imam has been killed in a mosque in Russia’s southern Dagestan region, police said on Friday… The imam, Magomedkamil Gamzatov, was well-known for his rejection of ‘any form of violence and openly condemned the extremist insurgency,’ the National Anti-Terror Committee said in a statement.” Read more.
Flashback: Prominent Imam Speaking Out Against Violence is Sprayed With Bullets – “A prominent imam who discouraged youth from joining Islamic militants has been shot dead in his home… Magomed Saiputdinov was slain by automatic gunfire in a nighttime attack near the Chechen-border town of Kizlyar… ’He was widely known for his uncompromising stand against any forms of violence, condemning the murder of innocent people and other atrocities of the Chechen underground,’ …” Read more.