Friday, May 3, 2013
Russia Confronts Islamic Extremism
On April 26, 2013, Russian authorities arrested 140 people at a Moscow mosque on suspicions of involvement with Islamic extremism. Apparently the mosque has in the past been visited by Islamic extremists who have been connected with terrorist attacks. Within the past decade alone, two attacks have been associated with Islamic extremists from the Caucasus. The first, in 2004, involved the slaying of 330 innocent people at a school. The second, in 2011, was a bombing of Russia's busiest airport, which killed 36. Compounded with this growth in Islamic fundamentalism and the recent Boston bombings associated with two supposed Islamic extremists from Chechen, this seems to indicate a growing religious tension in Russia, which for centuries has maintained a strong connection between the Russian government and Russian Orthodox Christianity. Whether or not these 140 arrests reflects a legitimate threat or the Russian authorities irrational fear of Islam remains to be seen. It could be that Russian authorities have thwarted a diabolical terrorist plot. More likely, in my opinion, is that Russian authorities have arrested more innocent (though perhaps misguided) people than would-be terrorists, regardless of the supposedly rising Islamic extremism in Russia.