Staunton, October 10 – Moscow is quite correct to believe that “it is better to destroy terrorists abroad before they return home,” Vladislav Maltsev says; but the problem is that some of the people supporting ISIS and other anti-Asad groups in Syria financially are already to be found within Russia’s Muslim community, most of whose members are Sunnis.
In a commentary for the current issue of “NG-Religii,” Maltsev who serves as a commentator for that publication, says that radical groups consist not just of those who carry out terrorist acts but also those who create an environment in which the former can function and provide money for them (ng.ru/ng_religii/2015-10-07/2_siria.html).
That is something the Russian authorities must recognize if they are going to win out in what he calls “the internal front of operations in Syria.”
Often those who support terrorists the most effectively are those whose propaganda contains not a word about terrorism, he says. Instead, they talk about “’the tyrant Asad who has killed Muslims” and about the need to provide assistance to his “’victims.’” Those who hear these things presented in this way are often prepared to send money or volunteer.
Maltsev cites one of his earlier articles that provides evidence of exactly that pattern (ng.ru/facts/2015-04-01/2_halifat.html).
Most of this anti-Asad propaganda, he continues, is distributed via the Internet and especially in social networks, including posts by a Salafite preacher who came from Turkey to Daghestan and then fled back there after officials came to suspect him as being behind the 2012 murder of Sheikh Said-Afandi Chirkeyskiy.
Moreover, Maltsev says, “one must not fail to take note of a number of Russian-language sites which have been conducting an active information campaign about the supposed ‘oppression of Muslims’ of Russia by the authorities.” They often extend that to condemning Asad and other Shiite leaders.
“In a number of cases, the exposure of ‘the bloody tyrant Asad’” is provided by the leaders of entirely “legal Islamic communities.” That occurred in Voronezh where several years ago a Muslim leader from Syria came and called for jihad against oppressive regimes like those of Asad (ng.ru/style/2015-07-15/16_jihad.html).
Maltsev adds that “there have been cases when the leaders of Islamic communities [in the Russian Federation] have turned out to be members of terrorist organizations.” Moreover, “one of the Moscow ‘Islamic activists, a year ago publicly condemned Russian actions in Syria by suggesting that ‘the government and force structures have declared war on Muslims.’”
According to the NG-Religii commentator, this activist added that “those supporting Asad ‘are becoming accomplices of his crimes,’” saying that “Muslims should not forget this.”