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Muslims Forced to Shave Beards at Gunpoint, Report Says

A group of OMON officers allegedly forced several Muslim visitors at a Surgut cafe in the Khanty-Mansiisk autonomous district to shave their beards off at gunpoint, a news report said Tuesday.

According to Faizulo Aminov, a leader of the local Tajik diaspora, witnesses said the incident occurred on March 3 at a cafe near a local mosque. Men in OMON uniforms with automatic weapons broke in and forced the cafe's visitors to get on their knees, he said, and then forced three of the visitors to shave off their beards.

It is not clear why the incident is only now being reported.

Several other visitors were reportedly taken to the local police station, where their documents were checked and they were soon released.

The Interior Ministry's branch in the Khanty-Mansiisk autonomous district told Interfax on Tuesday that a check would be opened into the incident.

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