Russia detains 69 from banned Islamic organisation

MOSCOW: Russia said Tuesday it had detained 69 supporters of an Islamic organisation banned in the country, accusing them of being "extremists" attempting to carry out illegal activity.

The FSB security service said it had detained in Moscow and the surrounding region followers of the Tablighi Jamaat — a global Sunni Muslim evangelical movement that Russia outlawed in 2009 as "extremist".

The FSB said those detained were "an extremist cell" led by people from Central Asia and including Russian citizens.

It said it had "foiled unlawful activity of a deep-cover structure from an international organisation" — without giving details of the alleged activity.

During a raid, officers confiscated "communications devices as well as a electronic data storage devices with reports on unlawful activity," the FSB said, adding that an investigation had been opened.

State television showed FSB video footage of officers breaking down a door into a flat and then young men lying on the floor with hands behind their heads. It also showed religious books.

Russia has rarely targeted supporters of Tablighi Jamaat, a secretive media-shy organisation.

Recently the FSB has cracked down on natives of Central Asian states of the former Soviet Union after they were implicated in a number of terror attacks, shifting its focus away from people from the North Caucasus. — AFP