Metin Mekhtiev, 33, the former head of the international department of the banned Islamic Cultural Center, was found dead with stab wounds on the neck and face near central Moscow’s Belorussky train terminal early Tuesday.
RIAN (H/T King Lear Bear) Abdul Waheed Niyazov, an advisor to the Russian Mufti Council head, slammed the murder as “brutal, barbaric and medieval” (Very Muslim-like). He dismissed earlier media reports that Mekhtiev was an Azerbaijani national.
Niyazov quoted witness reports as saying Mekhtiev had been attacked by a group of five young people, including a woman, as he was returning home from a supermarket. “They hit him in the head with a heavy object and then cut his throat,” Niyazov said.
The Islamic Cultural Center, one of the oldest Islamic groups in Russia, was created in 1991 with the support of Saudi Arabia. The group was outlawed by the Russian Supreme Court in May 2011 at the request of the Russian Justice Ministry over what it described as multiple violations by the Center of Russian laws regulating the operation of public organizations.
Niyazov said he believed Mekhtiev’s murder was an ethnic one, a claim challenged by the Investigative Committee, which suggested it was rather perpetrated by robbers, citing the fact that Mekhtiev was robbed of his cellphone, some $200 and the keys to his apartment.
Russia has seen a dramatic rise in (anti-Muslim) nationalist sentiments since the break-up of the Soviet Union. Racial violence led to the deaths of 21 people of “non-Slavic appearance” in 2011, a decline from 42 in 2010, according to the Sova organization, which monitors race-hate (Islam is not a race) attacks in Russia.