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30 Oct, 2023 16:36

Russian Muslim leaders slam anti-Jewish rioters  

Officials issued a statement after a violent mob stormed an airport in Dagestan in search of “Israeli refugees”  
Russian Muslim leaders slam anti-Jewish rioters  

Anti-Semitism and any other form of racism has no place in Islam, Russian Muslim leaders have stressed, denouncing Sunday’s rioting at Makhachkala Airport in the Republic of Dagestan. Russian authorities have accused Ukrainian intelligence services of instigating the unrest, which saw a violent mob search for “Israeli refugees” on incoming planes.     

In a statement on Sunday, the Russian Council of Mufties said that while the recent escalation between Israel and Hamas had understandably aroused tensions worldwide, there can be no justification for transplanting these onto Russian society, which is composed of numerous ethnic and religious groups.   

The Islamic clergy stressed that internal religious conflict should be prevented at all costs, urging Russian Muslims to prioritize stability and peace in their homeland and not to allow the influence of external factors. A scenario where various religious groups within Russian society are pitted against one another would play into the hands of the country’s enemies, the statement added.     

“Unacceptable to our religion are injustice, collective punishment, lynching, as well as such forms of racism and hubris as anti-Semitism and Judeophobia,” the Mufties argued. They also emphasized that Prophet Mohammed was married to a Jewish woman named Safiyya.     

The statement concluded by calling on Russian Muslims not to fall for provocations.     

Commenting on Monday on the events in Makhachkala, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov claimed that foreign actors had “obviously” played a part. The official added that President Vladimir Putin would chair a high-level meeting later that day to address the “attempts by the West to use the events in the Middle East to divide the Russian society.”   

The unrest saw several hundred people, some of whom were holding Palestinian flags and shouting “Allahu Akbar,” force their way into the building and runways of Makhachkala Airport in the capital of the Muslim-majority Republic of Dagestan. The rioters were searching for Israeli nationals who they believed had arrived in the region.    

Local officials deployed riot police to reestablish order at the airport.   

Ten people, including civilians and police officers, required medical assistance after the clashes, according to the regional Health Ministry. Two individuals were reported to be in a serious condition.  

The head of Dagestan, Sergey Melikov, has denounced the actions of the rioters, saying “there is no courage in mobbing unarmed people who did nothing wrong.” He also warned that the authorities would not allow the rioters to go unpunished.