A radio host has been hospitalized after being cut 15 times by an unidentified criminal. Two weeks ago the journalist ventured to criticize the founder of Islam, the Prophet Mohammed, on air.
Sergey Aslanyan, 46, was brought to Moscow’s hospital with numerous non-penetrating knife wounds to the chest, neck and arm.
According to the police report, on late Monday evening an unknown man called to Aslanyan’s flat over the building intercom and called him outside for a talk. When the journalist stepped out of the entranceway he was knocked over the head with a heavy object, after which the assailant brought the knife into play.
Aslanyan claimed that the attacker was shouting “you are Allah's enemy!” while slashing at the victim.
Police say the abuser was a slim man of about 30, while according to some witnesses there were several attackers.
As of now the journalist is conscious and his condition is stable. His relatives and friends are free to visit him in his flat, which is guarded by police. Investigators say they do not have a primary lead, but hope to identify the perpetrator using porch surveillance camera data.
Still, Izvestia newspaper made a guess that the attack could be linked to recent statements made by the journalist in a radio show. While discussing religion in general he made some “from zero to hero” remarks towards the Prophet Mohammed.
“The Prophet Mohammed, as we know, was not a religious figure. He was a businessman, but after getting considerable financial support built plans as to how to get to the top,” Aslanyan disclosed. He also said that the Prophet “rewrote the Bible” so that “now everyone would know the Prophet Mohammed was not a market shopkeeper, but an outstanding political figure.”
According to Aslanyan, the idea of Islam was a “business project from the very beginning,” and turned out to be successful due to “handsome financing.” Besides that, the journalist, who was an external expert at this radio show, speculated that the Prophet had some sort of sexual disorder.
Reportedly, the journalist later apologized on air for the harsh statements he had made, but that did not change public opinion much.
Such statements could not but stir the Muslim community. There was a widespread angry reaction on the Islamic internet forums.
Muslims from the Republic of Tatarstan, where Islam is the dominant religion, wrote a letter to the Prosecutor General’s office saying Aslanyan’s statements had insulted them.
“These insults wound our religious feelings and come into conflict with Russian legislature, because they unleash ethnic discord and interreligious hatred,” insists Imam Seijarfar Lutfullin.
Despite being disappointed with the journalist’s position, representatives of the Muslim clergy of Tatarstan refused to have anything to do with the assault on the journalist.
“Islam does not recognize the resort to force – for this there are authorities and courts,” the spokesperson of the Clerical Administration of the Republic of Tatarstan told Izvestia.
The radio host’s colleagues say Sergey Aslanyan was always extremely cautious about what he was saying and, despite being a well-known agitator, had never got into trouble and had even won several cases against him in court – only because of his close attention to the facts he was voicing.