On January 24th, 2014, Muslims in Moscow were outraged at the distribution of an official warning from the FSB, which described mosques as places of gathering for terrorists, and that “earnest prayer” was an identifiable behavior of suicide bombers.
Quotes from the document, taken from Russia Today’s website, include the following: “Suicide bombers can be distinguished in mosques by their more exalted behavior, close to meditation, by a deeper immersion into religious ecstasy. Besides, the mosques can be meeting places for members of terrorist cells. One can always stay for a night in a mosque or strike a deal with other persons unsuspecting about the real goals behind such contacts.”
Damir Gizatullin, deputy chairman of the Russian Council of Muftis, commented that the document’s authors are poorly acquainted with reality: “The mosques in Moscow are always closed at night. No one can stay there overnight as there are CCTV cameras and round-the-clock security watches. Pointing at some specific behavior and claiming that it is a sign of membership in a terrorist group is simply a lie that insults believers’ feelings and dignity.”
Representatives of the Council of Muftis intend to file a formal protest to Moscow’s Department of Interethnic and Interreligious Cooperation.
Translated by Matthew McDonald