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Teacher In Russia's Tatarstan Gets Suspended Sentence For Organizing Banned Islamic Group

Naberezhnye Chelny city court
Naberezhnye Chelny city court

NABEREZHNYE CHELNY, Russia -- Nakia Sharifullina, a noted teacher and founder of Islamic schools for girls in Russia's Tatarstan region, has been handed a suspended two-year sentence for organizing the activities of a banned Islamic group.

Sharifullina's lawyer, Ruslan Nagiyev, told RFE/RL that a prosecutor had asked the Naberezhnye Chelny city court to sentence his client to seven years in prison for organizing activities of the Nurcular Islamic group.

Nagiyev added that it had yet to be decided if the court ruling will be appealed.

Sharifullina was charged after police found in her possession books by the founder of Nurcular, Islamic scholar Said Nursi, in March 2020. She has rejected all of the charges, insisting that she did not use the books in her lessons.

She was placed under house arrest for eight months at the time and later released on condition she would not leave the city.

Since 2013, several alleged members of Nurcular have been arrested across Russia.

Last year, a noted Islamic scholar in Tatarstan, Gabdrakhman Naumov, was charged with creating and running a Nurcular branch in the region, which he and his supporters have denied. His trial is pending.

Nurcular was founded in Turkey by Nursi, who died in 1960.

The Nurcular movement, which has millions of followers around the globe -- especially in Turkey -- has been banned in Russia since 2008.

Russian authorities have said the group promotes the creation of an Islamic state that encompasses all Turkic-speaking areas and countries in the Middle East, the Caucasus, Central Asia, and Russia's Turkic-speaking regions in the North Caucasus and Volga regions.

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

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