16 August 2013, 11:59
Young men raise funds for Syria jihad in Russia's Tatarstan Republic
Kazan, August 16, Interfax - Young people who were raising funds to "support the brothers fighting the jihad" in Syria were spotted in the streets of the city of Naberezhnye Chelny in Russia's Republic of Tatarstan.
"A group of young men wearing telltale beards were walking along a city boulevard in the 26th quarter of Naberezhnye Chelny holding an envelop and asking passers-by to donate money for those who are "fighting the jihad" in Syria," Rais Suleimanov, director of the Russian Strategic Studies Institute's Volga Center for Regional, Ethnic and Religious Studies, told Interfax-Religion on Friday.
The majority of people refused to give any money, but some of them donated 100 rubles or even more, Suleimanov said, adding that similar fund-raising campaigns could be observed in other districts of the city.
Such a "form of beggary" confirms the existence of functioning routes that are used to supply money from Tatarstan to the Wahabis who are fighting against the Syrian government, he said.
"The fundraisers themselves do not look poor. They are doing so in order to increase the popularity of the very idea of Syria's war and romanticize it," Suleimanov said.
It was reported in September 2012 that natives of Syria had started to arrive in Tatarstan.
"We will not overlook the fact that one of the main recruiters of young people for the "jihad" in Syria, Salman Bulgarsky [his real name is Airat Vakhitov] studied in Naberezhnye Chelny's Yoldyz madrasah, which has already been closed, and served as an imam of the Tauba city mosque before setting off to fight in Eastern countries abroad," Suleimanov said.