September 20, 2014 09:56

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Editorial: the still waters of Kazan

25.10.12 13:41    By Gazeta.ru editorial

Editorial: the still waters of Kazan

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It seems that the republic of Tatarstan is becoming the new center of full-scale religious extremism in the territory of Russia. This was not how it used to be even in the 1990s, when the republic tried to defend its sovereignty while battling weak federal power.
On Wednesday security forces conducted an anti-terrorist operation, reports the regional Interior Ministry. The security officers had to take two apartments by storm, the authorities have launched counterterrorist regime for the first time in Tatarstan's history.

Official reports from Tatarstan are reminiscent of those which usually come from the North Caucasus republics of Ingushetia or Dagestan.

All security forces of Tatarstan were involved in the counter-terrorist operation. When the operation ended, the regional Investigative Committee announced that the terrorists killing during the operation were accused of attacking Tatarstan's mufti and killing his deputy. In July 2012 Tatarstan's mufti Ildus Fayzov was injured when his car was rigged with explosives.

Another high-rofile religious official, Valiulla Yakupov, was shot on the same day. Both officials were famous for criticizing radical wings of Islam.

After the attacks, investigators initiated a criminal case against one of the imams Rustem Safin, who was suspected of extremism. According to investigators, Safin conducted illegal agitation among members of the prohibited terrorist organization Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami. The counter-terroristic operation might have been set against members of that organization.

The operation took place on the eve of the major Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, which ends the hajj. The holiday will be celebrated on October 26 this year.

The Russian authorities, who are used to conducting anti-terrorist operations in Dagestan and Ingushetia, have never considered Tatarstan as a zone of possible export of radical Islam.

No military operations were conducted in Tatarstan. After the collapse of the Soviet Union the political situation in the republic was guarded by its president Mintimer Shaymiev. After his retirement the region was headed by his successor Rustam Minnikhanov.

Even in 1990s, when Tatarstan was fighting for its sovereignty, there were not any Islam-oriented sentiments.

The current situation with Tatarstan turning into a new center of Islamic extremism means that the Russian authorities are not capable of hadling the situation with the spreading of radical Islam around the country.

Today, the Kremlin is focused on the opposition movement. Our investigators find extremism among the opposition movement, when they should be looking into the armed Islamic militants.

While fighting the peaceful opposition, the Kremlin risks losing control over the situation with radical Islam in those regions which have never caused doubts.

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