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Tatars, Bashkirs Decry 'Harassment' Of Bashkir Muslims

Bashkir President Rustem Khamitov

Bashkir President Rustem Khamitov

UFA, Russia -- The Tatar community in Bashkortostan says it will hold a mass rally in Ufa next week in support of a Bashkir youth campaign against what they call anti-Muslim actions by security forces, RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service reports.

Bashkir youth organizations complain that in the last several months, observant Muslim Bashkir families have been subjected to repeated searches and interrogated by law enforcement and security service officers. They say police and security officers violated Muslims' civil rights by not giving reasons for their actions.

Last month, several Bashkir youth movements and organizations urged Bashkortostan's president, Rustem Khamitov, and the republic's prosecutor-general, interior minister, and security service leadership to investigate "the violations of Muslims' rights."

Mazhit Khuzhin, deputy chairman of the Tatar National and Cultural Autonomy in Bashkortostan, said on Wednesday (June 8) that in order to avoid violating federal law, the gathering on Tuesday (June 14) will be held as one of independent individuals, not of any ethnic organization.

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