This is an extended version of the author’s “Mixing Turncoats and Terrorism” op-ed published in The Moscow Times on September 9, 2012.
Events of one August day in Russia’s volatile republic of Dagestan have once again highlighted how turncoats can enhance terrorists’ capabilities to carry out deadly attacks in the North Caucasus and other regions of Russia.
On Aug. 28, Aminat Kurbanova, an ethnic Russian woman whose original name is Alla Saprykina, visited Said Afandi al-Chirkawi, the spiritual leader of two major Sufi orders in the North Caucasus. The prominent sheikh was initially reluctant to meet Kurbanova, but the 29-year-old woman said she was a Russian who wanted to convert to Islam and he eventually agreed to receiver her in his village home. In reality, this former actress-cum-dancer had not only already converted to Islam, but had also joined the ranks of the believers in Salafiyyah, the so-called pure Islam. Once in the same room with the sheikh, the woman detonated the bomb concealed under her clothes to kill him and seven others, including herself. Read more