In the context of the Russian psyop aiming to destabilize the West and undermine unity of NATO allies, as well as in the context of Russian combat units being staffed with various outcasts and convicts, cases of desecration of Islamic symbols and acts of vandalism against mosques are being recorded more often now.
This week, a video was posted on Twitter showing the pages of the Holy Book of Islam being used for personal hygiene procedures by Russian soldiers deployed in eastern Ukraine.
Кадыров и его бойцовская собачка Чимает грозно возмутились сожжением Корана в Швеции. Но они же засунули свои языки в одном мрачное место, когда русские оккупанты в Украине используют Коран в качестве туалетной бумаги. Против шведов гавкать можно, против хозяев русских нельзя pic.twitter.com/GgNcokvYQ1
— Kavkaz Center (@newkc14) January 23, 2023
Previously, RLI pointed to the connection between the act of the burning the Quran in Sweden and the operation of Russian military intelligence. The repetition of this act outside the mosque in Copenhagen must obviously be considered an act of covering up Paludan’s connection with the Russian military intelligence operation, which became apparent after Frick’s links to Russia were exposed.
In June 2020, RLI published a research regarding the act of vandalism targeting the Niffati Mosque in Ein Zara in south of Tripoli.
Thus, acts of desecration of Islamic symbols by Russian soldiers and Wagner mercenaries are becoming systematic.
According to our estimates, not all of these stunts are masterminded by Russian intelligence. The cases reported in the occupied territory of Ukraine and in Libya, obviously, are a consequence of the chauvinistic and nationalist sentiments prevailing among the Russians. However, such acts of desecration of Islamic symbols are not accidental, and aim to deliberately insult Muslims.
Despite the fact that 15 men. Muslims live in Russia, state propaganda focuses on Orthodox Christianity as the country’s basic religion. The Russian psyop, which is run by military intelligence and groups associated with Yevgeny Prigozhin, is a source of inciting Islamophobia across social networks on a global scale. This is done to increase the influence of Islamophobic and far-right parties and organizations in Europe and North America, many of which are loyal to Russia. Thus, the New York Times investigation claims that Russia has deployed “an international disinformation machine devoted to the cultivation, provocation and amplification of far-right, and anti-immigrant passions and political forces.”
According to the 2021 data of the SOVA Center, some 30-60% of cases of ethnically motivated aggression target Muslims, while these acts are rarely accompanied by Islamophobic statements. Acts of vandalism are regularly committed against Muslim sites. Islamophobic speeches most often appear on the Russian nationalist online platforms.
Some Russians believe that Islam is an ultra-conservative social threat. In a number of Russian regions, Muslim girls wearing the hijab, obligatory attire for the religion, are not allowed to attend classes. The ban was supported by Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Supreme Court, Education and Science Minister Dmitry Livanov, and Education Minister Olga Vasilyeva, who said “the hijab must not have a place in schools.”
Thus, state propaganda and Orthodox state policy that has united the Orthodox Church and government institutions in Russia is reflected in the anti-Islamic radicalism of military and mercenaries. Combined with Russian nationalism and chauvinism, this encourages intolerance towards Islam beyond Russian borders.
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