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Police Raid Moscow Mosque for War Recruits – Reports

Muslims in a mosque in Moscow. Arthur Novosiltsev / Moskva News Agency

Russian police rounded up Muslim worshippers exiting a Moscow region mosque after Friday prayers and brought them to a military enlistment office for the war in Ukraine, media have reported.

Videos shared on social media over the weekend showed young men inside a moving bus, outside a military recruitment office and in a barracks with bunk beds. 

“OMON [riot police] took me and the other men leaving the mosque to a military enlistment office after Friday prayers,” Mamut Useinov, a sales manager and TV show contestant, said in one of the circulated videos.

Authorities seized the worshippers’ passports and forced them to sign military contracts without lawyers present, according to the Mobilization news channel on the Telegram social messaging app.

Useinov said the raid took place in the town of Kotelniki and the worshippers were transported to neighboring Lyubertsy. 

Both towns are located on Moscow’s southeastern border and are known for high concentrations of migrants predominantly from Central Asian countries.

A wave of police raids targeting Central Asian migrant workers has swept Russia this year as authorities seek to bolster the Russian military’s manpower in Ukraine.

The round-ups appear to primarily target male migrants who recently received Russian citizenship but failed to complete their compulsory military registration.

Useinov reportedly received a Russian passport in annexed Crimea in 2014.

Around 100 citizens of Central Asian countries have reportedly been killed fighting for Russia in Ukraine during Moscow's 21-month war.

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