Russia’s number one outlaw Chechen terrorist Doku Umarov is also high-up on the international most-wanted list. But it seems one of Russia’s neighbors isn’t interested in helping bring him to justice.
Priest Juha Molari is receiving threats, and faces being defrocked for speaking out against Doku Umarov and his internet mouthpiece, the Kavkaz-Centre.
“I use the word terrorist. They use the word President,” Molari explains.
The site was the first to publish the terrorist’s words on the attacks he claims – the Beslan school siege, the Nevsky express and Moscow metro bombings, and most recently – the Domodedovo airport attack.
The website is banned in Russia, but in Finland it enjoys quite a comfortable standing not only on the Internet, but also in downtown Helsinki.
The priest was the first to openly say this was an outrage, and the reaction was quick to follow.
He got an e-mail apparently from Dagestan saying that if he doesn’t “stop fight against Kavkaz-Centre, they will cut his head off and his family.”
Juha Molari went to police, but instead ended up being persecuted himself. The Lutheran Church now wants to defrock him for promoting religious intolerance. He’s also being sued for criticizing, what Finland calls, a legally operating organization.
“The same people that are promoting terrorists against Russia, they’re influencing public opinion, claiming that Molari is a racist, that he delivers racist statements against the Caucasus people. But Molari is only stating an acknowledged fact that Doku Umarov is an international terrorist,” says Johan Beckman, Chairman of the Finnish-Caucasus Friendship Society.
In Russia a manhunt is on for Umarov, and people close to him. But in Helsinki you may end up dining next to his relatives.
“For example, Ruslan Umarov, who’s a brother of Doku Umarov. Officially, he lives in Stockholm, but now he doesn’t live with his own family. And we can meet him quite often in Helsinki,” says Molari.
People walking down these quiet and prosperous streets may be unaware of the disturbing case of Juha Molari.
They’re used to thinking of their country as fair and politically correct, but would they remain just as neutral if tragedy knocked on their door?
People travel on public transport without fear in Helsinki. Their neighbors in Russia, only 400 km away, aren’t quite so lucky. Does a terrorist act have to happen on this platform for the Finnish government to wake up to the danger?
After all it’s only a step from extremist rhetoric to action. And there’s seldom a warning call.
“We’re fighting against the minority. A strong minority, who want to do terrible things against people. They don’t really know the reason why. But they think it’s justified. And it is disturbing that there’re so many people that keep the website going. And they’re not just anti-Russian, they’re anti-Western,” says Asher Pirt, a Researcher for The British East West Center.
There’s quite a team after the pastor now – Finland’s Prosecutor’s Office, the Church, and some of the world’s most uncompromising terrorists.
Juha Molari has already changed his address, and divorced his wife to avoid putting her and his children at risk. He’s now considering a move to Russia.
“We have double morality. We have right to criticize and speak terrible things about Russians and Russia, but when we criticize Finland, it’s very, very strong attacks against us,” he sighs.