December 8, 2013
Putin says foreign rivals use radical Islam to weaken Russia
President Vladimir Putin accused foreign rivals today of using radical Islam to weaken the Russian state, a day after a suicide bombing blamed on a Muslim woman.
"Some political forces use Islam, the radical currents within it ... to weaken our state and create conflicts on Russian soil that can be managed from abroad," Putin told Muslim clerics at a meeting in the Russian city of Ufa.
He was speaking about 1,000 km (620 miles) northeast of Volgograd, where the female suicide bomber from Russia's mainly Muslim North Caucasus killed six people on a bus yesterday.
Putin did not say which foreign rivals he was referring to and portrayed Russia as a force for peace in the Middle East at what he said was a time of meddling by other countries.
He has often accused countries, including the United States, of trying to interfere in Russia's affairs since he secured a six-year third term as president last year.
Speaking after race riots in Moscow this month, Putin also urged the clerics to help Muslim immigrants adapt to life in Russia to reduce the likelihood of violence.
"They need to hear your voice," he said. "Otherwise they become the objects of propaganda by various fundamentalist groups."