Underground sect found after nearly a decade in Russia's Kazan

Published: August 9, 2012
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The sect members included 20 children, the youngest of whom had just turned 18 months.

The sect members included 20 children, the youngest of whom had just turned 18 months.

MOSCOW: Seventy members of an Islamic sect who have been living in an underground bunker without heat or sunlight for nearly a decade have been discovered living on the outskirts of the city of Kazan in Russia, local media reported.

The sect members included 20 children, the youngest of whom had just turned 18 months. Many of them were born underground and had never seen daylight until the prosecutors discovered their dwelling on August 1 and sent them for health checks.

A 17-year-old girl turned out to be pregnant.

Religion was suppressed in the Soviet Union which collapsed in 1991, prompting various cults and sects to flourish in the vacuum that opened up.

The group – known as the “Fayzarahmanist” sect – was named after its 83-year-old organiser Fayzrahman Satarov, who declared himself a prophet and his house an independent Islamic state, according to a report by state TV channel Vesti.

Satarov was described as a former deputy to a Sunni Islamic cleric in the 1970s. His followers were encouraged to read his manuscripts and most were banned from leaving their eight-storey underground bunker which had been dug in the basement of a building, Vesti said.

Prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation into the sect and have said it will be disbanded if it continues its illegal activities, such as stopping its members from seeking medical assistance or education.

No arrests have been made although police are likely to look into suspicions that some of the children were being abused. A court will decide whether the children will be allowed to stay with their parents.

Kazan is located 800km east of Moscow in Tatarstan, a majority Muslim internal Russian republic.

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Reader Comments (6)

  • Adnan
    Aug 9, 2012 - 5:14PM

    This can’t be an islamic sect as the person claimed himself as prophet, the pioneer of that tribe…. So stop calling them islamic sect….

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  • Atheist, India
    Aug 9, 2012 - 7:28PM

    “The group – known as the “Fayzarahmanist” sect – was named after its 83-year-old organiser Fayzrahman Satarov, who declared himself a prophet and his house an independent Islamic state.”
     
    Well sounds like a new religion to me.
    Welcome to the club.

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  • someone
    Aug 9, 2012 - 8:02PM

    This sect is not Islamic…its founder claimed to be a prophet which means all the sect followers are out of Islam, similar to the Ahmadiya sect.

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  • re-think your understanding
    Aug 9, 2012 - 11:15PM

    @someone: So what do you know about the Ahmadiyyah jamaat?? Its founder did not preach in underground bunkers for decades!! Ahmadiyyat is more than 100 years old, which itself is a sign. , since none of the fake prophets had their movements running for such long. Please start to study Ahmadiyyat since what we have as our religion today does not ignite the spiritual revolution within ourselves. We need a pure representation of Islam to revive ourselves.

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  • khan
    Aug 10, 2012 - 3:56AM

    Whether sect remain or not for specific time doesnt indicate its authenticity, there are several new prophets sects that evenremian today , not as large as ahmadi due to
    Massive financial superiority the sect got due to british empire

    Bottom line is that ahmadiya’s have a new prophet so better they dont call themselves muslims , this would help a big controvery and will be better for both communites

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  • Seeker
    Aug 10, 2012 - 11:27AM

    @ Tribune. Please change the Picture because it has no relevance with the Article. The Picture is of a Rakaposhi located in Hunza-Nagar District. The picture has only relevance with the Writer :)

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