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MOSCOW, December 23. /ITAR-TASS/. A series of actions “for the protection of Muslims’ constitutional rights,” organised by the Union of Tatar Youth Azatlyk has been held in the Tatarstan capital Kazan. The Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily has learned that Tatar nationalists intended to expand the geography of their actions and for the first time take part in a mass action in Moscow - “all-Russia rally against Islamophobia” that is planned for the middle of January. The action organizers’ news conference will be held on Tuesday.
Pickets against the oppression of Muslims on Friday and Saturday gathered on the main street of the capital of Tatarstan - Bauman Avenue - about fifty people with posters and flags with the symbols of Azatlyk (meaning “Freedom” in the Tatar language): a howling wolf on a green background and Golden Horde tamgas (emblems). On the eve of the Kazan actions, nationalists in their Internet blogs issued calls to mobilize supporters from other regions where major Tatar communities live. As a result, Azatlyk Chairman Nail Nabiullin told Nezavisimaya Gazeta, part of the picketers, his allies, had arrived from Bashkortostan, Chuvashia and the Ulyanovsk region.
He said that his organisation had submitted applications for rallies in Kazan this week. Also, the Azatlyk head plans on Tuesday to come to Moscow to participate in a news conference of the organizers of “All- Russia rally against Islamophobia.”
“We have been invited, as we have rich experience in organizing public events,” Nabiullin said, referring to Azatlyk’s participation in the future Moscow rally. Such events also include those stated in its report for 2012 “two mass rallies in support of Muslims” that ··also involved parishioners of the Al-Ikhlas Mosque. This community in the spring of this year was liquidated by a court decision because of accusations of extremism, including links with the international Islamic organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir. According to the Azatlyk head, part of its activists would arrive in Moscow from Kazan to prepare for the rally.
The organizers of the “All-Russia rally against Islamophobia” had planned to hold it either before December 25 or immediately after the Christmas holidays. As a preliminary news conference is scheduled for December 24, the rally has apparently been postponed until January. The organizers have declined to give any details before the news conference, however, on December 11 one of the organizers, Muhammad Magomedov, stated in an interview with the Russian News Service: “If it is possible to submit an application for one million participants, then we submit for a million!” Another co-organiser of the action - Abakar Abakarov, in his Facebook blog named a similar figure.
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