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Russia may see a rise in ethnic hatred following the deadly blasts in Moscow's subway, the ombudsman for Human Rights in Chechnya warned on Tuesday.
"The fears of people with Chechen backgrounds are not groundless. They have bitter experience of being considered criminals and abused because of their ethnic group," Nurdi Nuhazhiyev said.
"We have received calls from people of different Russian regions and Moscow who are frightened from possible illegal actions against them," he said. "Some Chechen people... have already felt a shift in the attitude towards them."
Russian media reported on Monday that there had been assaults on "Muslim-looking" people, but Ramazan Abdulatipov, the head of the assembly of the Russian peoples, said on Tuesday that Caucasus diasporas in Moscow had not complained of acts of xenophobia.
Ekho Moskvy radio said two Muslim women were beaten on a subway train between the Avtozavodskaya and Paveletskaya stations in south Moscow.
The Russian tabloid Moskovsky Komsomolets reported that two men of "Caucasian appearance" were assaulted " at Kuntsevskaya station in the west of the capital when they refused to show their bags to "a group of vigilantes."
At least 39 people died in Monday's twin suicide bombings, which the Federal Security Service said were most likely carried out by terrorists from Russia's volatile North Caucasus.
Nuhazhiyev said he has already asked Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov to call on police to refrain from treating everyone from the North Caucasus as potential terrorists.
He emphasized that Russian politicians have spoken about how the possible link between the terrorist attacks and people of certain nationalities could provoke a rise of Russian nationalism.
MOSCOW, March 30 (RIA Novosti)
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Islamic terrorism is gaining momentum, and is all about ideological opposition to European Christian values. This is an aggressive young radical ideology that attracts followers across the world. And it will only grow stronger on the world political stage.