MOSCOW, January 15 (RIA Novosti) – Moscow police have detained a 23-year-old man suspected of burning a Quran and attacking Muslims in retribution for recent suicide bombings in Volgograd, a police spokesman said Wednesday.
The man has been identified as a resident of the Tver region who has a previous criminal record, including theft and robbery.
The police spokesman said the suspect had been detained for 48 hours so far on hooliganism charges.
The hunt for alleged Quran burners started last week after a video uploaded on YouTube showed a group of young men burning a Russian translation of the Quran with several lighters. The video also showed a man of Central Asian appearance with bruises on his face, who was forced to repeat after people behind the camera: “I renounce Allah.”
The video came with subtitles linking the Quran burning to the string of suicide bombings in the southern Russian city of Volgograd.
Two attacks on successive days in late December killed 34 people at Volgograd’s main railway terminal and on a trolleybus. Another six died in October when a woman blew herself up on a commuter bus.
The attacks were blamed on an Islamist insurgency in the neighboring North Caucasus.
Radical Russian nationalists are frequently charged with extremism or fanning religious hatred, which are punishable with up to four and five years behind bars respectively.