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Metin Mekhtiyev, Moscow Muslim Cleric, Stabbed To Death

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MOSCOW -- Russian police say a cleric from a banned Islamic group has been stabbed to death in Moscow in what his colleagues called an apparent hate crime.

Moscow city police said Wednesday that the body of Metin Mekhtiyev was found late Tuesday with severe knife wounds near his apartment building in central Moscow.

The 33-year-old worked at the Islamic Culture Center, one of the oldest Islamic groups in Russia, which was banned by Russia's Supreme Court last year. The group claimed the ban was instigated by the Federal Security Service, Russia's man KGB successor agency.

The group's chairman Abdul-Wakhed Niyazov told the online Gazeta.ru that Mekhtiyev's killing was similar to hate crimes committed by radical ultranationalist groups.

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