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MOSCOW, May 30 (Itar-Tass World Service)
Late in the evening on Monday, anchorman of the motor show on the Mayak radio station Sergei Aslanyan was attacked in Moscow. The unidentified criminal stabbed the journalist about 20 times with a sharp object and escaped. Several theories behind the attack are being investigated. According to media reports, Aslanyan’s careless statement over Prophet Muhammad most likely caused the attack. The chiefs of Russian Muslims ruled this out absolutely.
On the doorsteps of his flat Moscow journalist Sergei Aslanyan was attacked by a religious fanatic with the knife, who named the journalist as “the enemy of Allah,” the Izvestia daily reported. The newspaper reported that Aslanyan’s speech on the radio caused the attack. On May 14, the automobile reviewer has made a disrespectful statement towards Prophet Muhammad live on the radio, as some Muslims took it. In particular, Aslanyan compared the prophet with a businessman and stated that Muhammad rewrote the Bible for his interests. The conversation on the religious theme was raised unexpectedly, when the journalists were discussing new cars.
The statement of the reviewer evoked a sharply negative response of the Muslim public. Pro-Islamic media published criticizing articles over Aslanyan’s statements also mentioned that the anchormen did not respond to the statements of a guest on the radio.
The attacks on journalists in Moscow were committed before, but they were not linked with the religion, the newspaper recalled. Novaya Gazeta observer Anna Politkovskaya was gunned down at the entrance of her residential house in 2006. In 2008 the Khimkinskaya Pravda’s chief editor Mikhail Beketov was beaten up near the entrance of his residential house. In 2010 two unidentified criminals beat up brutally Kommersant correspondent Oleg Kashin.
One of the most high-profile religious murders in Russia was committed in November 2009. Priest Daniil Sysoyev was shot down at the Apostle Thomas Church in Moscow. Sysoyev was well-known, as he converted the Muslims in Orthodox Christians and criticized publicly the Islamic creed.
The injured party noted that the unidentified criminal called him up on his home phone, the Rossiiskaya Gazeta daily reported. As soon as Aslanyan opened the entrance door, he saw a man who looked like a Tatar. The attacker cried out “You are the enemy of Allah” and immediately assaulted Aslanyan, 45, with the knife. The fight sparked up. The attacker was brandishing the knife, and Aslanyan was seeking to protect himself. After that the criminal retreated quickly, and the journalist called the ambulance himself and came home.
The Moskovsky Komsomolets daily noted that after a program on the Mayak radio station on May 14 religious chiefs and the flock of the mosques, as well as public figures of Tatarstan wrote a petition to the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office. “These insults encroach on our religious feelings and contradict Russian laws, as these statements fan up interethnic strife, insult deeply the feelings of believers, including Muslims,” they wrote in the petition and demanded check Aslanyan’s statements over the instigation of hatred and strife.
“In theory one could assume that the attack was committed over the statements, if the main facts did not contradict this,” chairman of the Russian Islamic Committee Geidar Jemal told the Novye Izvestia daily. “The caller knew the phone number and the home address of Aslanyan. The journalist went out to this person himself. It looks like he is knows him well. My theory is that business relations of the journalist that resulted in a conflict caused the attack. The assailant just took advantage of the situation over the statements to imitate the religious connection,” Jemal said.