Islamist group calls for prayers for earthquake in Sochi during Olympics
SOCHI - Reuters
Alpenglo settles on the Caucasus mountains at sunset as the Olympic flame burns above Olympic Park during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. AP photoA militant Islamist group has urged followers to pray for an earthquake in Sochi during the Winter Olympics to avenge Muslims who died there fighting "Russian infidels."
The appeal was made by a local branch of the Caucasus Emirate, a group which is waging an insurgency for an Islamist state in Russia's North Caucasus and called on supporters last year to attack the Games.
"All who are able to read this letter can supplicate that the Almighty destroys the land in Sochi with an earthquake, and makes the infidels 'drunk of water' before Hell and drown in a flood!," said the appeal posted online on Feb. 10.
"The Games of the atheists and pagans! The pigs are so arrogant that they decided to host the Games on the ground where our ancestors shed their blood to defend Islam and Muslims. Even the blind can see it!"
Russian President Vladimir Putin, who waged a war in Chechnya to try to rein in separatists in the North Caucasus, has staked his personal and political prestige on the Games.
But some of the events are being held in territory that was the homeland of ethnic Circassians until they were expelled in the 19th century.
Islamist leaders say this amounts to performing "Satanic dances" on the graves of Muslims killed fighting Russian forces and one, Caucasus Emirate leader Doku Umarov, urged followers last year to prevent the Games going ahead.
"We know how the Russian infidels - those who we have been fighting for centuries in the Caucasus - have become arrogant and decided to hold the Satanic Games on the ground of the companions who brought Islam," said the new appeal, issued by the Ingushetia media branch of the Caucasus Emirate.
"May Allah give the infidels in Sochi the last earthquake of their lives," it said. Ingushetia lies about 650 km by road from Sochi across the Caucasus mountains.