Fifth suspect held over Kazan Mufti bombing

MOSCOW.  July 20. KAZINFORM A fifth suspect was detained over Thursday's car bombing of the Mufti of Tatarstan in Kazan and the fatal shooting of his former deputy, Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said on Friday, Kazinform refers to RIA Novosti.

The Mufti, Ildus Faizov, suffered a leg injury in the car bomb blast. Earlier that day, Valiulla Yakupov, a high-ranking member of the spiritual directorate of the republic and head of its education department, was shot dead at his home.

The first four suspects were detained on Thursday. Investigators named them as Rustem Gataullin, the 57-year-old director of the largest Hajj tourism operator; Murat Gallev, 39; Airat Shakirov, 41, and Azat Gainutdinov, 31.

The fifth suspect was identified as Abdunozim Ataboyev, "a 36-year-old citizen of Uzbekistan," Markin said.

"Investigators think the main motive for the crime was the professional activity of the victims, including their ideological differences with their opponents," Markin said.

"After Faizov was elected chief Mufti of Tatarstan, he took up a firm line against radical Muslim organizations in Tatarstan. In addition, he took control of financing of the Idel Hajj tour operator, which was sending muslims to Mecca, and in this way he was caught up in conflict with the leaders of organizations which threatened Faizov."

According to its website, Idel Hajj is one of Russia's leading tour operators, and is in the top 100 operators in the country according to the PLIMSOLL analytical agency. The company has offices throughout Russia.

Traditional Tatar theologist and former Mufti of Tatarstan, Farid Salman, said the attacks showed that the confrontation between radicalism and traditional Islam has intensified in the republic.

"The fight against clerics who oppose radicalism under the guise of Islam has begun," he said.


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