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“You think that we are coming here as foreigners, but we believe that we are at home here and maybe you are the foreigners. We will make those laws that suit us, whether you like it or not, and any attempts to change that will lead to spilled blood. There will be a second dead sea here and we will drown the city in blood.”
Those were not the words of some back alley preacher, but of noted Moscow lawyer, Dagir Khasavov, giving an interview to a television station about his proposal to implement Sharia courts in Russia. Interspersed with footage of death sentences being executed, Khasavov spoke about his new organization that would protect Muslim rights and claimed that his proposal was only the beginning of a worldwide expansion.
“We are going to expand this net, we will begin in Russia, first Asia, and then everything will be encompassed, as it was in the Caliphate,” Khasavov said. According to Khasavov, Russian security services already unofficially refer cases involving Muslims back to Sharia courts and his proposal to officially establish such courts would only legitimize the parallel justice system that already exists for the millions of Muslims who now live in Moscow and other cities.
There is no official count of the number of Muslims who have migrated to find work in Moscow, but it might be as high as a third of the population. Muslim prayers spill out into the streets and take over portions of the city. After the demolition of the decrepit Cathedral Mosque, eighty thousand Muslims took over the streets to celebrate Eid al-Adha while the police scrambled to control the streets.
Halal cafes are easier to set up than mosques and have proliferated much faster. Unofficial Sharia courts already operate out of Moscow mosques with Imams acting as the arbitrators, but Khasavov would like to go much further. Last year he proposed the creation of a Council of Imams, the first step toward establishing a united Muslim legal system. Nor is Khasavov a man who can be easily dismissed as a bearded lunatic playing Al-Awlaki sermons.
Khasavov has an extended background with the MVD, Russia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs, a section of its security services, and graduated from two of its institutions, including one named after Felix Dzerzhinsky, the godfather of Russia’s police state. Until recently he served as an aide to a member of the Federation Council dealing with social policy. And media coverage of his Sharia courts proposal was generally positive until a hostile interviewer on REN TV baited him into a rant that led to a catastrophic backlash causing him to temporarily leave the country. It is entirely possible that his proposal was a trial balloon from higher up the food chain.
One of the stranger acts of Muslim terror in Moscow was the assassination of a Russian Orthodox Priest who had spent a great deal of time campaigning against Islam. Fr. Danill Sysoyev was killed in his own church by a masked man armed with a Makarov pistol tipped with a silencer. Security services supposedly turned up the pistol in the hands of a dead man they had killed, but no one appears to believe this version of the story, including the Moscow Patriarchate.
The method of the killing would have been out of character for Muslim terrorists, but entirely in character for the Russian security services, which have assassinated enemies of the state in the exact same manner. Opposition figures have been killed by masked gunmen armed with silenced pistols in public places, with their murders added to the list of unsolved crimes or attributed to some convenient career criminal. It would not have been the first time that the Russian security services had murdered a priest who fell out of line with government policy and treated it as an unsolved murder. The case of Alexander Men comes to mind.
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