"Kizlyar terrorist attack points out danger of spread of extremism and intolerance one more time"
The farewell ceremony in honor of the victims of the attack on the parishioners of the Orthodox church was held today in Kizlyar. "The memorial service was attended by about five thousand people who came to say goodbye to the victims of the tragedy," the representative of the city mayor's office said.
The funeral procession was attended by representatives of Dagestan executive power, relatives of the victimes and injured, military, Stavropol Cossacks, as well as representatives of neighboring regions and citizens.
The Interreligious Council of Russia described a perfect attack on the parishioners of St. George's Church in Kizlyar as an attempt to arouse inter-religious strife and urged everyone "to avoid any provocative actions."
The appeal points to the goal of the "terrorist and their inspirers" - "incitement of interreligious discord, destruction of centuries-old traditions of peaceful coexistence of Christians and Muslims in Russia." Religious leaders called for every effort to prevent this. "The terrorist attack in Kizlyar again and again forces all of us to pay attention to the danger of the spread of extremism and intolerance, especially among young people," the council stressed. Spiritual leaders called on "the Russian state, public and religious institutions to pay the closest attention to the moral education of young people to protect them from the extremist threat."
On February 18, Khalil Khalilov, 22, opened gunfire at people leaving a Kizlyar Orthodox church in Russia's Dagestan, killing five women and wounding four others. The gunman was shot dead by the police while trying to flee the scene.
The senior research fellow of the Caucasus Problems and Regional Security Center at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, Ahmet Yarlykapov, speaking with Vestnik Kavkaza, stressed that the Kizlyar attack did not achieve its goal - to set Christians and Muslims against each other. "No clashes happened, because everyone understands real goals of terrorists. They realize that terrorists do not represent Muslims. The Muslims expressed their position very clearly. The Orthodox expressed their position clearly either. And we can say that in this particular case that the terrorists lost. The events in Kizlyar showed that the inter-confessional world in Russia is very strong," he said.
The expert drew attention to the fact that the problem of spreading extremist ideas is acute not just for Russia. "This also affects Europe, where exactly the same terrorist acts were committed, only using cars. They are lone wolf terrorists, it is very difficult to fight with they, these loners are very difficult to recognize, unfortunately," the senior research fellow of the Caucasus Problems and Regional Security Center at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations complained.
According to him, only complex measures can help here. "Not only security forces, but the whole society should participate in this in order to recognize such people in time. It is necessary to work with young people, since radicalization of youth is a universal phenomenon. Those processes that have been started with the support of the interim head of Dagestan Vladimir Vasiliev are one of the ways to show the youth that we are fighting corruption, a thing that prevents the youth from solving their tasks," Ahmet Yarlykapov concluded.
The President of the Russia–Islamic World Center for Strategic Studies, Shamil Sultanov, stressed that the Kizlyar shooting was a deliberate provocation. "I think that it could be a paid crime, not a terrorist attack. It's not about ideas, but about the split in the social and economic situation in the Caucasus: it's easy enough to find a person who needs money and pay him to commit a criminal act. What happened in Kizlyar, resembles Brazil or Mexico, where people are hired to commit crimes," he believes.