Muslims in North Caucasus concerned about ‘extremism'
April 23rd, 2013
09:47 AM ET

Muslims in North Caucasus concerned about ‘extremism'

By Dan Merica, CNN
[twitter-follow screen_name='DanMericaCNN']

Washington (CNN) – A majority of Muslims (57%) in Russia’s North Caucasus – including Chechnya, Dagestan and five other Russian jurisdictions – are either “very concerned” or “somewhat concerned” about religious extremist groups in their country, according to a Pew Research Center survey.

That number is higher than Russia as a whole, where more than four-in-10 Muslims in the country express the same level of concern.

This region of the world, particularly Chechnya and Dagestan, has been in the news recently because the suspects in last week’s Boston Marathon bombing – Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the younger brother who is still alive, and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the older brother who died in a shootout last week – had familial ties to the region.

The two brothers were born in Kyrgyzstan, where 62% of Muslims told Pew they were very or somewhat concerned about extremism in the central Asian country.

Monday night, Dzhokhar told investigators that his older brother, Tamerlan, was the mastermind behind the Boston Marathon bombing that killed three and injured more than 260 people. Tamerlan appears to have become increasingly religious in the years leading up to the bombing, and interviews with family in Russia indicate that the older brother was radicalized while in America.

While there is so far no evidence that the brothers were associated to international jihadist groups, in August 2012, soon after returning from a long visit to Russia, Tamerlan created a YouTube channel with links to a number of videos including sermons or interviews with radical preachers.

Though extremist groups from Chechnya have carried out terrorist acts since the early 2000s, most of those attacks have been focused on Russia. An example: the Beslan school hostage crises in September 2004, where more than 300 people were killed.

Though experts say the Caucasus are quieter now, Thomas de Waal, an expert on the region, says there is a constant a low-level Islamist insurgency there.

The Pew data released Tuesday is part of a larger report on the state of Islam conducted from October 2011 to February 2012, with research collected before the Boston bombings.

The survey also found that Muslims in Russia’s North Caucasus – the dominant religion in the region – are more concerned about Islamic extremist groups than Christian groups. Thirty-six percent of Muslims said they were primarily worried about Islamic extremists, while only 2% indicated they were worried about Christian groups.

Russia, as a whole, is primarily Christian, with 73% of its population identifying with the faith, according to Pew’s 2012 Global Religious Landscape report. About 10% of the country’s population is Muslim – most of which live in the Russian Caucasus.

Likewise, in the brothers' birthplace of Kyrgyzstan, 32% of Muslims were concerned about Islamic extremist groups, while 5% were concerned with Christian extremism. According to Pew’s numbers on world religions, Muslims make up 88% of the country’s population, while 11% of Kyrgyz people are Christian.

In light of the bombing, Muslim leaders in Boston and around the United States condemned the attacks. “I don't care who or what these criminals claim to be, but I can never recognize these criminals as part of my city or my faith community," said Yusufi Vali, executive director for the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, the largest mosque in the Boston area.

Imam Talal Eid, the imam at the Boston Islamic Institute, told CNN that he would refuse to give Tamerlan last rites. "A person who is devoted does not kill innocent people," Eid said.

- CNN’s Eric Marrapodi and Jake Tapper contributed to this report.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Islam • Polls • Russia • Terrorism

soundoff (902 Responses)
  1. Reality


    Joe Smith had his Moroni. (As does M. Romney)

    "Latter-day Saints like M. Romney also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah."

    Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;

    Mohammed had his Gabriel (this "tin-kerbell" got around).

    Jesus and his family had/has Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day demon of the demented. (As does BO and his family)(As do Biden and Ryan)

    The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other "no-namers" to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.

    Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these "pretty wingie/horn-blowing thingies" to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.

    April 23, 2013 at 6:14 pm |
    • R.M. Goodswell

      Bet Constantine would have a good laugh over his legacy (he was probably a sociopath like the majority of his predecessors). This is all his doing – Christianity would have died out 2k years ago like all the other cults of the day.

      April 23, 2013 at 7:04 pm |

    we are normal people !!!! look my wife entertaining our neighbors

    April 23, 2013 at 6:13 pm |

    Gay s ex, part of faith of muslim secular s, criminal self centered. Why? look our history, ca1800 artwork

    L0033071 Credit: Wellcome Library, London
    A devil buggering a Muslim Imam.
    Gouache 19th century
    Published: [India?], [18–?]
    Size: image 15.5 x 8.8 cm.
    Collection: Iconographic Collections
    Library reference no.: ICV No 51428 and External Reference 47695i
    Full Bibliographic Record: Link to Wellcome Library Catalogue


    April 23, 2013 at 6:05 pm |


      April 23, 2013 at 6:24 pm |
    • Meatwad

      That is hot as hell ya'll.

      April 23, 2013 at 6:26 pm |
  4. Big Bob

    @ patriot. Don't you know whites aren't allowed to have their own country? Silly boy!

    April 23, 2013 at 6:03 pm |
  5. kevobx

    Notice all the sheep going to the slaughter, Satan's kingdom is fighting within themselves over religion, their doctrines to be good. (Matthew 19:17) *Jeremiah 11:19*

    April 23, 2013 at 6:03 pm |
  6. R.M. Goodswell

    Richard Cranium,

    Cmon man, John is right...if you cant prove, right now this minute, how our universe started – then God did it....

    Because an all powerful mind/being sitting in the blackness...existing in the physical world as well as some nebulous spiritual world makes a ton more sense.

    Do these people ever freaking use even the tiniest amount of their imagination to ponder what they are saying their god is/ can do? the amount of power required, across every spectrum imaginable is.....astounding to say the least. Mastery of every form of science and physics – as well as a good deal of psionic power (something known to not be possible in our physical world) .....and the Bible/Quran/Torah is the best such a being can do?

    April 23, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
    • R.M. Goodswell

      blown reply....sorry

      April 23, 2013 at 6:03 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      The finite is not infinite and yet the infinite finiteness ebbs and flows forever upon the infinity of nothingness. Our people are as gods living upon a celestial cosmos. Our atomically made and biologically framed cosmological bodies are as universes and we all are mere buildings wherein the Gods all live and take refuge. All of celestially formed Life are as cellular cosmos, the miniaturized celestial chasms of living universalisms.

      April 23, 2013 at 6:40 pm |
    • R.M. Goodswell

      What the hell?!!

      April 23, 2013 at 6:48 pm |
  7. FastFrankie

    By trying to change the subject to religion in general, every single time there's an Islamist attack on the West, hipster Atheist types are basically providing cover for Islamists, whether that's their intention or not.

    April 23, 2013 at 6:02 pm |

    A hindu secular, ignorant self centered, believer of hindu fabricated Evolution making his evolution daddy, monkey, secular by nature dance to make money.


    April 23, 2013 at 6:00 pm |

      last known video of my father, before he was droned in Pakistan

      April 23, 2013 at 6:07 pm |

      oh and he was a cross dresser, danced like a woman in parties for living

      April 23, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
  9. Jack

    @Suq Madiq: If someone is hypocritically pointing out the extremism of others while being an extremist themselves, then that warrants pointing out.

    April 23, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
  10. conalien777

    Why don't we have an open discussion about how since the beginning, theist and atheist have been fighting themselves and each other. Killing innocent and guilty in the same sweeps, condemning innocent and guilty together, and controlling the innocent and guilty together.

    I don't blame Muslims. Just like I don't blame Jews. The same goes for all Abrahamic, Indian, Iranian, East Asian, African, Indigenous, Historical Polytheisms, Mystical, Occult, Neopaganisms, New Religious Movements, Left Hand Paths, Fictional, or Parodies of Religion. You can't blame an idea for our problems.

    The blame of our problems rests on individualism. Everybody has the right to be the way they are, mentally and physically.
    When that is given to everyone, you cannot guarantee that everyone will turn out peaceful.

    My predictions, based on repeating of human history in a relative way to prior generations:
    The notion that separation of church is a topic that will never be agreed upon.
    The notion that the church should run the state will never be agreed upon.
    The notion that land belongs to this or that person will never be agreed upon.
    The notion that we should be allowed to move freely throughout the world will never be agreed upon.
    The notion that this or that religion is too extreme will never be agreed upon.

    April 23, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
    • CS

      I disagree.

      April 23, 2013 at 5:59 pm |
  11. eno

    Religion was invented only to control the foolish masses... No one religion is better than the others .. just ak any true believer and c what i mean

    April 23, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
    • Suq Madiq

      Islam and Christianity are both irrelevant and that really really p i s s e s them off, but more so for the Muslims which is why they lash out so violently.

      April 23, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
    • TheTruth

      Read Evidence That Demands A Verdict and The Case For Christ, then see how you feel.

      April 23, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
    • hawaiiguest


      Read them, they're crap.

      April 23, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
    • BKE


      April 23, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
    • Suq Madiq

      Read "Cry for Attention" and "Can't stand Irrelevance" by organized religion, they are real eye openers.

      April 23, 2013 at 6:14 pm |
    • conalien777

      I truly believe that we need to start thinking about the children of humanity. All children should have a chance to develop their friendships based on personal experiences, and not in a classroom.

      April 23, 2013 at 7:18 pm |
    • The real Tom

      "Develop friendships based on personal experience and not in a classroom"? What does that mean? The classroom is where children meet every day. They have personal experiences in the classroom.

      What are you talking about here?

      April 23, 2013 at 9:45 pm |
  12. Suq Madiq

    "Comments like your's are also indicative of an extremist."

    So now pointing out the extremism of others makes you an extremist?

    April 23, 2013 at 5:49 pm |

    ATHIESTS http://www.vice.com/read/hey-atheists-just-shut-up-please

    April 23, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
    • Science

      So is this make sure to comment ?


      April 23, 2013 at 6:00 pm |
    • Huebert

      All types are needed to bring about a cultural change. The Reddit atheist mentioned in the Vice article serve as the fire brands. They attack openly and fiercely and sometimes that type of attack is beneficial. But there are also diplomatic atheist, such as the late Carl Sagan and Neil deGrasse Tyson.

      The article you mentioned is targeting a specific subset of teenage atheist. To say that all atheist should simply shut up is derogatory and insulting, unless you would like to extend the same message to all Christians, Muslims, Hindus, and Jews as well.

      April 23, 2013 at 6:00 pm |
    • Science

      WORTH READING............. you will find the answer !



      April 23, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
    • Dan

      The nature of an atheist is that he couldn't shut up if he wanted to. Hate and intolerance have a way of outing themselves whether in the name of religion or not. Most religions at least teach some form of self-restraint; something atheism never will.

      A good question from the article no one here wants to answer:
      "Has hate ever led to anything progressive? Do . . . Atheists actually think they’re changing the world?

      April 23, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      How cute. A Generalization fallacy, not to mention an implication of the whole rhetoric of "religion makes you good".
      Tell me, do you have anything new?

      April 23, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
    • Huebert


      Atheist aren't changing the world. Atheism is merely the natural outcome of critical thinking. The world is changing, atheist are just ahead of the curve.

      April 23, 2013 at 7:49 pm |
    • fred

      Atheism is godlessness not some positive virtue. I have yet see one atheist actually show how their belief (godlessness) is superior to what Christ said and did for mankind,.

      April 23, 2013 at 7:58 pm |
    • Science

      Fred what the hell you talking about !...............Bye Bye !

      No god(s) needed................... Old. DNA works..................also catches crooks !

      Ancient DNA Reveals Europe's Dynamic Genetic History

      Apr. 23, 2013 — Ancient DNA recovered from a series of skeletons in central Germany up to 7,500 years old has been used to reconstruct the first detailed genetic history of modern Europe.



      April 23, 2013 at 8:03 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Aww fred is back with the same blind defense of discrimination and hate brought about by his religion. Not to mention his equivocation fallacy of atheism being some kind worldview.

      April 23, 2013 at 8:05 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Wait, not an equivocation fallacy, fred's just stupid.

      April 23, 2013 at 8:06 pm |
    • fred

      I could have saved your bone diggers a lot of time by letting them know they all descended from Noah. Then they were disbursed at the tower of Babble and which tribe ended up in Europe. Oh, well keep digging in the dirt and I will dig in the word of God

      April 23, 2013 at 8:18 pm |
    • fred

      discrimination and hate is not of God. Show me how Christ advocates discrimination.

      April 23, 2013 at 8:19 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Oh is fred now becoming more aggressive in his stupidity? Will he now merely stick to baseless assertions instead of long winded, irrelevant bullshit?

      April 23, 2013 at 8:20 pm |
    • Science

      Adam and Eve does not work ..........................the ark is sunk FRED !

      April 23, 2013 at 8:23 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Tell me where Christ said that homosexuality is a sin. You merely want to limit this to Jesus for your own purpose, but when it comes to doctrines and sin, you go outside of Jesus. How about you pick one, and stay consistent instead of moving the goalposts. Is the OT used or not? if not, then how do you decide what's a sin.
      This is your standard dishonesty fred. You will say "Show me where Jesus talked about discriminating", but on other subjects will quote any book of the bible that suits your point.

      April 23, 2013 at 8:26 pm |
    • fred

      How about you stick to the age of the earth science believed it to be 250 years ago, 175 years ago, 100 years ago, 2010AD? Oh, I see you can have greater clarity over time but Christians must go back to thoughts of the Sanhedrin which Jesus put in their self absorbed place.

      April 23, 2013 at 8:44 pm |
    • fred

      Adam and Eve as physical man and women did not work for C.S. Lewis either and I respect his work. The effect and affect on you and I is the same regardless is it not?

      April 23, 2013 at 8:47 pm |
    • hawaiiguest


      Am I the one claiming my knowledge is coming from a perfect, all-knowing, unchanging being, or by evidence? Oh that's right, evidence. And as our tools get better, our conclusions become more accurate, and the evidence gets better. Unlike your bullshit. Nice try on the complete Red Herring, but ultimately just another failure on your part.

      April 23, 2013 at 8:55 pm |
    • Science

      The origin story is a load of sh-it fred.


      April 23, 2013 at 8:55 pm |
    • WASP

      @fred: why is it your jesus never visited my people? your christians visited us and preceeded to commit genocide; however that was in the year 1400. so weren't my people worth visiting? did your god have the power to make it so he could visit us natives? creation story is only to explain what they didn't have science to explain.

      April 23, 2013 at 9:11 pm |
    • Science

      Evening WASP.............the old fruitcakes from xmas past sure did show up today !


      April 23, 2013 at 9:20 pm |
    • hawaiiguest


      Did you run already? Or are you waiting until I leave so you can post some irrelevant bullshit to avoid addressing my points?

      April 23, 2013 at 9:22 pm |
    • WASP

      @hawaii: i vote he ran. he doesn't want our evil knowledge destroying his dreams of all but him burning forever. lmao

      April 23, 2013 at 9:26 pm |
    • R.M. Goodswell

      @ WASP

      But.... God needed gold...lots and lots of Gold ....supreme being and all...can create anything....except Gold - its important you know...that gold.....and land....he needs land....and lives.....lots and lots of lives.....and money...lots and lots money....and he needs....

      April 23, 2013 at 9:28 pm |
    • Huebert


      I would not say that is a superior belief. I believe that it is most likely the accurate belief.

      April 23, 2013 at 9:36 pm |
    • fred

      "most likely" accurate would be only in subjective terms because the truths of Christ and science cannot be compared objectively. Objectively science would be more accurate given current methods as to its conclusions. I am not certain how one would objectively value truth that is dependent on faith addressing purpose of life and how we should live given our purpose is onto God. Subjectively science is more accurate within its constrained boundaries of known measurable matter and energy if consensus is an indicator of accuracy.

      April 24, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
    • fred

      It is not written that everyone who does not understand Christ as I do will burn for eternity. Jesus said I am the way and we really do not know how far his reach is. What we know for certain is the Satan and his demons will find eternal torment because they will be separated as will all evil for eternity. All other souls will be judged based on what they were given in life to fully reveal the true disposition of their heart. We are specifically told that we are not in position or have capacity to come to a conclusion (judgment) where another soul will find eternal rest.

      April 24, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
    • Science

      Fred ..................when is the hairy sun going to show up ?

      April 24, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
    • fred

      " why is it your jesus never visited my people?"
      =>Jesus said "to him who much is given much is expected". It is a blessing to receive the truth of God but once received you are accountable to a much higher level of faithful response. You are further blessed because you were not given the opportunity to reject Christ. You will be judged according to your deeds and the inclination of your soul (towards goodness or towards evil)

      "your christians visited us and preceeded to commit genocide"
      =>Jesus said thou shalt not kill and to be a light unto the world. I would say you are describing evil or the opposite of Christ.

      "did your god have the power to make it so he could visit us natives?"
      =>Certainly had the power and will visit every soul ever in existence. You are objecting to the plan God uses to bring a chosen people into an eternal life. There was a significant difference between the chosen people of early writings and the surrounding population. The plan as revealed served the purpose of spreading the Gospel throughout the world. God works through hearts that are inclined towards God. If Saul of Tarsus never stepped forward he would never have discovered his purpose in life and we would not have discovered ours. Same goes for Noah, Abraham etc.

      Your plan is not Gods plan or the best plan otherwise God would have used it. God will bring the greatest possible number of souls into eternal life with the best possible method as that is Gods purpose in creation.
      The assumption that God should just snap his fingers and bang everyone gets eternal life would render everything you know as worthless. All the good and bad, great and failed efforts of individuals over the generations creating and taking part in the wonder of life becomes meaningless. This is why atheists do not have hope outside the material properties of existence. The result is an unknown void before and after existence which contains and surrounds life itself. That is a closed set and given all the scientific intellectual hype supporting their belief it should be self evident that what is contained within a void is emptiness.

      That is the difference between life with a purpose onto God and evolved organic matter that for a moment responds to chemical stimuli.

      April 24, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
    • fred

      I am not Matt Harrison but you are getting close.

      April 24, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
    • hawaiiguest


      Tell me, why is it that you always ignore my posts when I post a clear indication of your dishonesty?

      April 24, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
    • fred

      I assume you mean it is dishonest for me not to discriminate against gays because of 7 verses in the Bible. The problem is sin is always the same yet you want to focus on homosexuality. I would be a hypocrite to discriminate against homosexuals. I cannot say with complete certainty the intended usage of the term homosexuals in the Bible as some apply to the Levites or the wayward Corinthians while other times it reflects Paul's Hebrew education and old testament beliefs.

      I mentioned this to you before the Bible must be viewed as a whole when evaluating the parts. Jesus did not mention homosexuality and there was no need for it because it would serve no purpose. You will not go to hell for being a homosexual as hell is reserved for Satan and his demons. The same goes for a thief, drunkard etc. as mentioned by Paul. The question always is do you love God with all your heart and soul which spills out in love for your fellow man. If your sin is an issue with God and you have a personal relationship with God simply address it. That is what Jesus did when he said neither do I condemn you now go and sin no more.

      April 24, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
    • hawaiiguest


      Thank you for showing that you are still unable to actually defend your point honestly, which leads to your consistent irrelevant tangents which doesn't really have a lot to do with my points. You really are just a dishonest liar for your god aren't you fred?

      April 24, 2013 at 8:11 pm |
  14. Boomer in Mo

    Hawaiiguest, actually there is geologic evidence of any number of floods that may have covered most of continents although perhaps not the entire world. Most major religions have a tale of some kind of purging flood. In addition to old Noah, the Osage Indians have a tale of a great flood sent to cleanse them, the children of the waters. None of that proves anything though.

    April 23, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      No evidence of a flood of that magnitude in the timeframe that the bible claims. Maybe some local flooding that was unusual for the area in question.

      April 23, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Places flood at different times. That's just how weather is. What isn't supported is a biblical flood covering the world and killing everything but 8 people and a boat that could not have held all the animals it was supposed to.

      April 23, 2013 at 7:25 pm |
    • WASP

      @boomer: problems with "flood story"
      1) no evidence of global flood, only regional
      2) middle east and Mediterranean was their "whole world"
      3) nowhere for that amount of water to go
      4) not enough water on earth to cover world even if ice caps melt
      5) traveling sellers would pass on stories they heard only adding slightly to them

      April 23, 2013 at 9:16 pm |
  15. kevobx

    *2nd Peter 2:19 While they promised them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: *(Jeremiah 34:17 the statue of liberty is wood and stone exposed)

    April 23, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
  16. Sherri

    You all need to get the book The End of Faith, by Sam Harris, and read the stats about how many people, in these Muslim countries, APPROVE of terrorism. It will astound you. It is not a 'small minority' like you have been told. Many see nothing wrong with these bombings. We are always told that this is a small group. It is not. They are here in the U.S. and even those who have been born and raised here, feel this way. They hate America. The older brother, in this group, said that many times apparently, but instead of leaving, he decided to bomb them. He had lived here 10 years. Came here legally, from what I've heard. But still, he hated Americans and non Muslims. This is the common factor. They hate infidels. And you ARE one if you are not Muslim. Get the video The Third Jihad and hear, in their words, what they plan for the U.S. Believe them.

    April 23, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      As time passes onward, religions will one day converge and merge symmetrically as social harmonies provided they see all their cultural mistakes' passing ways.

      April 23, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
  17. Boomer in Mo

    Worldwide, Muslims need to take their religion back from the nutcases.

    April 23, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
    • lol??

      Allah won't handle it?

      April 23, 2013 at 6:24 pm |
  18. Rynomite

    As an American, I'm far more worried about Christian extremists than I am muslims....

    April 23, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
    • lol??

      What, Me worry? Talk to Al.

      April 23, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
  19. lionlylamb

    I Love the God of and also inside all creations and am resentful of those who adore and do idolize their devious interpretations of God and godliness issues unfounded; as being emotionally inhumane and laced with social infidelities. God cannot be bound up by any cultural literatures. God is elusive to all of humanity and yet God knows all human frailties.

    April 23, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
  20. Chuchu

    Well Russians are to blame for the genocide of Chechnya.

    April 23, 2013 at 5:31 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      That's why these clowns should have kept their AZZ back home and blow up the Kremlin. The reason they didn't is because the Russians would have lowered the boom on the Chechen co'ckroaches.

      April 23, 2013 at 7:16 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.