Simferopol, March 29, Interfax - The Spiritual Muslim Board of Crimea has issued a statement in connection with the searches and detentions of suspected members of Hizb ut-Tahrir banned in Russia on the peninsula, urging Crimean Muslims to refrain from any contacts with members of sects.
"We are concerned by current detentions in Crimea of Crimean residents, who are suspected of membership in the extremist party Hizb ut-Tahrir. Each of us is concerned by the future of our young people, who fall under the deceitful impact of destructive groups," Crimea's Muslim board said in its address.
"We urge all the Muslims, especially elderly persons, to take care of and be vigilant about their children. Ask them about their affairs, life, mood, plans and goals. Suppress any attempts at influencing their minds by destructive groups," the address said.
They are also calling on those, whose relatives fell under the impact of the extremist ideology after all, to do their utmost for the latter to give up their membership in destructive sects.
"If you have some questions, misunderstanding, and conflicts, you always can find assistance in the Spiritual Directorate of Crimean Muslims," it said.
The Muslim board has been warning fellow countrymen about the danger of sects already for more than 15 years, the authors of the address said.
"Don't not be under thumb of unscrupulous ideologues, who pursue dishonest goals," the address said.
As reported, mass searches, as result of which 20 persons were detained, were conducted in the Simferopol Region in Crimea on March 27. The Russian Federal Security Service has carried out a special operation jointly with officers of the Interior Ministry and the National Guard of Russia. The special service called the detainees Hizb ut-Tahrir "ringleaders and rank-and-file members" in the region. According to the FSB, they have promoted the terrorist ideology among Crimean residents and have recruited local Muslims into the banned organization.
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has protested against the searches and detentions in Crimea and has urged the international community to respond to them, in particular by tightening anti-Russian sanctions.
The European Union is aware of searches at homes of Crimean Tatars and condemns them, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini's spokesperson Maja Kocijancic said.
Hizb ut-Tahrir (the Islamic Party of Liberation) has been recognized as a terrorist organization and banned in Russia by the Russian Supreme Court ruling since 2003.
About 1.9 million people, including over 300,000 who practice Islam, live in Crimea.