Russia: August 5, 2005

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  In Chechnya, the Islamic religious leadership have condemned Islamic extremists. These groups, funded by Saudi Wahabis in the 1990s, were responsible for Chechen attempts to spread Islamic radicalism to neighboring areas, and triggered the Russian invasion of 1999. The Islamic radicals have been feared, and hated, ever since. The pro-Russian Chechens now feel strong enough to openly condemn the Islamic radicals, who have been greatly diminished by a six years of counter-terrorism. Meanwhile, the rising popularity of Islam is worrying the traditional Orthodox Christian religious leaders. While there are only about fifteen million "ethnic" Moslems, there are now some 23 million Russians who consider themselves Moslem (16 percent of the population, and rising). 

The violence continues in Chechnya, but at a reduced level. The Summer used to be the busy season for Chechen terrorists, but this year, it's a time when Russian commandoes and pro-Russian Chechen police, are very active at hunting down the remaining terrorists in the area. 

 

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