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Published in Press Stream:
October 16, 2015

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Published in Stream:
October 16, 2015
Press by
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Dagestanti Imam Atajev Arrested in Germany on Charges of Recruiting for ISIS
4 years
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A Dagestani imam supporting ISIS has been arrested in Germany on terrorism charges.

According to a report from Joanna Paraszczuk at Radio Liberty/Radio Free Europe:

The suspect is Gadzhimurad K., better known as Murad Atajev. He was detained on October 14

A well-known figure in the Russian-language pro-jihadi world, the 30-year-old Atajev is a Russian national from Daghestan who is the imam of a Russian-speaking mosque in Berlin.

A joint statement from the Berlin prosecutor's office and the police said that Atajev was suspected of recruiting IS supporters and militants via the Internet, according to Deutsche Welle

The Daghestani is also suspected of purchasing military equipment, including rifle scopes and night-vision devices, for militant groups in Syria.

The Russian state-run news outlet RIA Novosti quoted a representative of the Berlin prosecutor's office as saying that Atajev was "accused of recruiting young people, mostly of Chechen origin, who were worshippers in his mosque, and also via social networks to send them to Syria to fight alongside IS."

RIA Novosti quoted a Berlin law-enforcer giving the name only of "Murat A."

Berlin police arrested Atajev in May after he gave an interview to Meduza.io, an independent Russian web site based in Latvia, calling himself an "information aggregator" for ISIS.

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Photo of Atajev (center) taken from his VKontakte page about the raid in May, via Meduza.

As Paraszczuk notes, Atajev had maintained a number of social media accounts including @AtajevWitness on Twitter which as of this writing is still live although Twitter has banned his accounts in the past. A half dozen other Twitter accounts also bear the same title "Atajev Witness" and variations of the account name.

His last posts on Twitter were on October 13, saying sources close to ISIS reported that ISIS had seized control of the Zanubia factory in Deir ez-Zor, Syria near the gates of the military airfield.

He also had a pinned tweet on October 8 announcing his Telegram account, but the link is now dead. Atajev was also previously connected to ShamToday, a media group run by Russian-speaking IS militants close to IS military commander Tarkhan Batirashvili (aka Umar al-Shishani), says Paraszczuk.

-- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick