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Islamists on the March through the Steppes

August 27th, 2012 - 5:21 am

Chilling attack in Russia:

On Sunday, a car carrying three men, an automatic rifle and Islamic pamphlets blew up in Zelenodolsk, about a half-hour west of Kazan, in what the authorities described as the inadvertent detonation of a homemade explosive. “That radical direction exists in Tatarstan,” Mr. Malashenko said. “And it’s dangerous.”

The apparent rise of Islamic militancy could have far-ranging effects on foreign and domestic policy, as the Kremlin increasingly looks for ways to promote moderate Islam and quash radical movements at home and abroad.

What’s so chilling is that Kazan is as far north as Moscow, and not too far west of Siberia. This isn’t exactly the Caucasus. Worse, Tatarstan is home to Jadidism, a tolerant sect of Islam. The region has been at peace with itself and with its Orthodox neighbors for a couple centuries now.

Tatarstan has enjoyed a higher level of autonomy than most of the Russian Federation’s other “autonomous” regions. Any attempt by Moscow to crack down could easily help radicalize the population.

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