MOSCOW — A Russian radio journalist known for reporting on the country’s auto industry and corrupt traffic police and who recently referred to the prophet Muhammad as a businessman was stabbed outside his home, police said Tuesday.
Sergei Aslanyan, a popular anchor for the Mayak radio station, was hit on the head with a heavy object and stabbed multiple times in the chest, neck and arms, said Moscow police spokesman Maxim Kolosvetov.
Police said Aslanyan, who was hospitalized but did not suffer life-threatening injuries, was attacked by an unknown assailant Monday night. The motive was also unknown, Kolosvetov said.
Sergei Arkhipov, a deputy general director of the Russian State Television and Radio Co., who spoke with Aslanyan on the phone Tuesday, said Aslanyan told him the attacker had screamed, “You don’t like Allah!” and “You insulted Allah!”
During a May 14 radio show, Aslanyan referred to the prophet Muhammad as “not a religious leader but a businessman who had accumulated very serious funds from his quite legitimate financial operations and was thinking how to make his way upwards.” He also said Muhammad “decided to rewrite the Bible the way he could and create a religion” that became a successful business.
Arkhipov said Aslanyan was not an expert in Islam and that he later apologized on the air.
Ildar Alyautdinov, the senior imam of the main mosque in Moscow, said in an interview that Aslanyan had used “profanity” and incited strife, but that Muslims are tolerant people who do not profess summary justice. Aslanyan “demonstrated his complete ignorance of the most elementary things,” Alyautdinov said.
“The almighty God used a hooligan’s arm as a tool to punish this man who insulted the feelings of millions of believers in Russia,” he said.
The attack on Aslanyan was the 28th on journalists in Russia this year, according to the Glasnost Foundation, a Moscow-based human rights group. Several hundred journalists have been attacked over the last decade, and more than 100 of them were killed and at least five disappeared, the study showed.
“Whatever the motives for this outrageous attack, I am concerned that this crime will not be solved, same as numerous recent and not so recent ugly crimes against journalists in Russia,” Alexei Simonov, head of Glasnost Foundation, said in an interview.
Oleg Kashin, a journalist with the Kommersant daily newspaper who investigated the activities of pro-Kremlin youth groups, was assaulted by two thugs in front of his house in November 2010. They beat him with metal rods, breaking his jaws, legs and fingers. That crime hasn’t yet been solved.
Anna Politkovskaya, a crusading Russian journalist from Novaya Gazeta, was shot to death in the elevator of her apartment house in 2006, a crime that also remains unsolved.
In the Russian republic of Dagestan, in the troubled North Caucasus, 12 journalists have been killed in the last 10 years, also with no arrests made, Simonov said.
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-- Sergei L. Loiko