In a burgeoning crackdown instituted in Russia by President Vladimir Putin since the Boston Marathon bombing, Russian police detained 140 people on Friday who were in a Muslim prayer room in Moscow. Federal Security Service (FSB) officials said the detainees were taken to police stations, where they were checked for identification and questioning.
Putin said on television on Thursday that he intended to harden his stance against Islamic militants in the North Caucasus as the United States and Russia needed to cooperate in increasing their actions fighting the militants. The Russian state-run RIA reported that the members of the prayer room in previous times had migrated to the North Caucasus to join Islamic terrorist groups, and named one Chechnyan native who joined the terrorist groups after migrating from the Moscow prayer room. He was killed in October 2011.
Those in Russia critical of Putin assert that his actions are intended to grab illegal emigres from the ex-Soviet republics of the South Caucasus and Central Asia, and to make him look tough on Islamic terrorism.
Only two months ago, in February, 300 people were detained in St. Petersburg, most of whom were released.