North Caucasus Islamist group prays for earthquake at Sochi Olympics

February 12, 2014

(The Olympic flame is seen after the opening ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, February 7, 2014. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard)

A 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 Monday.

“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.

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