If you want to worry about Russian troops, there is plenty to worry about. Even this story alleges that they looted and destroyed property, and quotes someone calling them “robbers and murderers.” But the primary focus of this Daily Beast piece is not any of that; it’s that Russian troops allegedly trashed Qur’ans in Dagestan. Clearly, that is the most heinous crime that Russian troops have committed, no?
Is the world running out of copies of the Qur’an? Did the trashed copies have some artistic or historical value? If Russian troops had thrown Bibles on a pile of garbage, would the Daily Beast have written a hand-wringing story about it? Desecrating the Qur’an is a crime according to Islamic law; it is not a crime according to any other legal code. So why is the Daily Beast assuming Sharia norms?
“Are Russia’s Troops Vandalizing Korans In Dagestan?,” by Anna Nemtsova, Daily Beast, January 25, 2015:
Residents of Dagestan say that Russian forces destroyed their homes and trashed Korans during anti-terror raids last fall.
On Nelli Radzhabova’s desk, a pile of materials was growing: hand-written accounts, complaints to local and federal authorities, flash drives with videos and photographs. Dozens of letters. All of it evidence of the destruction caused by a recent counter-terrorism operation led by Russian interior ministry forces in Vremenny, a village in the troubled North Caucasus republic of Dagestan. The images in Radzhabova’s files depicted demolished homes; furniture, clothes and other belongings turned to rubbish and partly buried by bulldozers; broken windows, walls and gates at the village school and clinic. In one of the videos, men in interior ministry forces uniforms are seen throwing people’s belongings down a hillside.
There were also photographs of a Koran cut down the middle by an ax, as well as swastikas and other humiliating signs painted over the village’s ruined walls—all done by the military, or so locals claimed. One line of graffiti said: “Moscow is the force.”
“Local policemen asked Russian soldiers not to attack our Koran, so a military commander called Moscow to complain that Dagestan cops were not letting them do their job. After that, our local policemen were called away from Vremenny,” said resident Aminat Magomedova in an interview with The Daily Beast. “Two days ago, a local man found two more Korans in a pile of garbage,” she added.
Radzhabova sympathized with her clients. She was a member of an oversight commission that the Dagestan administration had appointed to observe the consequences of the anti-terror operation in Vremenny, after over 100 village men had complained to authorities about their looted or destroyed property. Over the course of two months, as the military conducted counter-terror raids, special operations forces destroyed 42 homes, Radzhanova said.
“This is not a professional army, they are criminals. What will the children witnessing such special operations remember about Russian soldiers? They will remember them as robbers and murderers,” Radzhabova told The Daily Beast on Friday.
Radzhabova’s long time colleague and friend Magomed Shamilov clucked his tongue as he looked at a picture of the vandalized Koran—the holy book was sliced through the middle. “This is even worse than those French cartoons, worse than a bomb—it hurts me, a Muslim believer, to look at this,” Shamilov said….