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PENZA, Russia -- A popular Imam in one of Russia's largest Tatar settlements has been arrested on extremism charges.

The Interior Affairs Department in Russia's Penza Oblast announced on June 25 that Ali Yakupov, a Muslim leader in the town of Urta Alazan, had been arrested on four days earlier.

Yakupov is suspected of "publicly calling for extremism and igniting hatred and the humiliation of human dignity."

No more details were released by authorities.

According to Urta Alazan's official website, Yakupov was arrested while he was leaving the town for Malaysia.

He was expected to represent Russian Muslims at a Holy Koran reading competition.

Urta Alazan was founded at the end of the 17th century and has a population of about 9,000 people.


With reporting by 58.mvd.ru and Interfax
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