Russia Harbors its Own Breed of Islamophobia

October 25, 2005

Source: World Peace Herald

Wire Service: UPI

On October 25, 2005 United Press International reported, "The beatings of Muslims in Sergiyev Posad, the seat of the Russian Orthodox Church, suggestions by Patriarchate officials that the Muslims should not be there in the first place, and the efforts of the militia and prosecutors to downplay this event continue to spark discussion in the Moscow media... In the wake of press reports about the beatings, however, local prosecutors said they would bring charges against those involved -- but only for incitement of inter-ethnic hatred rather than for attacking Muslims. And only on Friday did Sergei Koshman, Moscow oblast, or region's deputy governor, assure Muslim leaders that the authorities would punish those responsible for the attack, reported... But as Soldatov makes clear, this case involves far more people than those directly connected with the crime. Radical nationalist groups like the Union of Orthodox Christians have criticized the very existence of a Muslim prayer house in the seat of their church, and several Patriarchate spokesmen have seconded that opinion. Local government officials have gotten into the act as well. One, quoted by Soldatov, said that Sergiyev Posad 'is an exclusively Orthodox territory, and the establishment of Muslim cult building here is impossible,' a statement that other officials backed away from after it drew media criticism."