Saturday, August 11, 2012

An Underground Muslim sect - no really under the ground...

by Salman Hameed

Here is an Islamic version of a weird sect: Faizrakhmanists. They are not an apocalyptic sect, but they did shun the world to go underground for decades - and some wanted to establish an Islamic caliphate beneath the ground:
Four members of a breakaway Muslim sect in Russia's Tatarstan region have been charged with cruelty against children for allegedly keeping them underground.
Police discovered 27 children and 38 adults living in catacomb-like cells in an eight-level underground bunker. 
The sect's elderly leader, Faizrakhman Sattarov, had reportedly wanted to build his own Islamic caliphate beneath the ground. 
Prosecutors said some of the children had lived there for more than a decade.
The sect was uncovered last week in a suburb of the city of Kazan during an investigation into recent attacks on Muslim clerics in Tatarstan, a mainly Muslim region on the River Volga.
Nineteen under-age children were removed by the Russian authorities, some of them placed in care, others in hospital, Russian government-owned newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta reports.
Officials said the children, aged between one and 17 years, had never left the compound, gone to school or been treated by a doctor, and had rarely seen the light of day.
And here is how the sect started - and you can see a connection to technology:
According to the Russian website Islam News, Mr Sattarov, 83, declared himself an Islamic prophet in the mid-1960s after interpreting sparks from a trolleybus cable as a divine light from God. 
He and his followers began to shun the outside world in the early part of this century.
The sect, dubbed Faizrakhmanists after their founder, reportedly do not recognise Russian state laws or the authority of mainstream Muslim leaders in Tatarstan.
Only a few sect members were allowed to leave the community to work as traders at a local market, local media report. 
The cramped cells descend on eight levels under a decrepit, three-storey brick house on a 700 sq m (7,530 sq ft) plot of land, the Associated Press reports.
But now they have been charged with the crime of arbitrariness. Hmm...I think there may be a number of other crimes in here. But okay - arbitrariness is a start. Here is how it is defined in the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation:
Article 330. Arbitrariness
1. Arbitrariness, that is the unauthorized commission of actions contrary to the order presented by a law or any other normative legal act, actions whose lawfulness is contested by an organization or individual, if such actions have inflicted substantial harm, shall be punishable by a fine in the amount of 100 to 200 minimum wages, or in the amount of the wage or salary, or any other income of the convicted person for a period of one to two months, or by compulsory works for a term of 180 to 240 hours, or by corrective labour for a term of one to two years, or by arrest for a term of three to six months.
2. The same deed, committed with the use of violence or with the threat if its use,
shall be punishable by restraint of liberty for a term of up to three years, or by arrest for a term of four to six months, or by deprivation of liberty for a term of up to five years. 
Read the full story here.


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