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Report: Chechens 'Negative' About IS In Syria

In Chechnya, a meeting for peace in Syria and against the participation of Chechens in that conflict.

In Chechnya, a meeting for peace in Syria and against the participation of Chechens in that conflict.

A survey of Chechens by a Caucasus-based news outlet found that most respondents had a negative reaction to the idea of fighting in Syria with extremist factions like the Islamic State (IS) group.

The Caucasian Knot website reported that most of those asked believes that the war in Syria was being waged according to Western interests.

"Young people are befuddled by pseudo-religious leaders and seriously believe that there is a jihad going on in Syria and that every believer has to participate in it. In reality, they're just fighting for Western interests," Caucasian Knot quoted one man, a government ministry employee, as saying.

A representative of the local clergy in Grozny, named as Umar, said that if the enemy did not come to take away a person's faith, then a battle could not be considered a war.

"Your weapon is your prayer beads, not a gun or a dagger…. Dying in battle with the enemy is much harsher than suicide. Suicide is the worst of all earthly sins. I think that says it all," Umar said.

The criticisms given by the Chechens surveyed by Caucasian Knot of the fighting in Syria and the ideology associated with the extremist IS group, who call on young Muslims to take part in the "jihad" in Syria, echo those of the Moscow mufti, Ildar Hazrat Alyautdinov, who said that IS were brainwashing Muslims to go to Syria and kill, something that was not mandated by the Koran.

Alyautdinov said that IS militants in Syria and Iraq were puppets, who were manipulated by others.

The Caucasian Knot's survey findings came as the trial of a young Grozny man, Said Mazhayev, who is accused of fighting in Syria, possibly with IS, began in the Chechen capital on October 24.

-- Joanna Paraszczuk

About This Blog

"Under The Black Flag" provides news, opinion, and analysis about the impact of the Islamic State (IS) extremist group in Syria, Iraq, and beyond. It focuses not only on the fight against terrorist groups in the Middle East, but also on the implications for the region and the world. The blog's primary author, James Miller, closely covered the first three years of the Arab Spring, with a focus on Syria, and is now the managing editor of The Interpreter, where he covers Russia's foreign and domestic policy and the Kremlin's wars in Syria and Ukraine. Follow him on Twitter: @Millermena


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