Saturday, August 26, 2006

Slavic Converts to Islam and Islamism

A terrorist group calling itself Karachai Jamaat was recently liquidated by security services in Russia. According to reports, including this one by RFE/RL's Victor Yasmann, the group contained not only ethnic Daghestanis and Karachayans, but also Slavic Russians and Ukrainians:
The Slavic members of the group were devoted Muslims who chose to enter the ranks of militant Islam. As sign of their dedication to the cause, they reportedly destroyed their identification documents and adopted Muslim names.

Among them were ethnic Ukrainian Vitaly Zagorulko, an officer in Russia's Interior Ministry and a graduate of the Rostov High Militia School, and police colleagues Viktor Semchenko, a Russian, and David Fotov. Another alleged Karachai Jamaat member was a former Russian paratrooper, Yury Menovshchikov, and Russian Army veteran Ivan Manarin, an ethnic Russian. All but Manarin, who is now under arrest, were killed in fighting with federal special forces.

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