February 3, 1998 in Nation/World

Farrakhan Visits Muslim Republic, Makes ‘Anti-Russian’ Comments

Associated Press

Louis Farrakhan’s trip to a volatile province in southern Russia upset some local authorities who said Monday that the Nation of Islam leader arrived without proper papers and made anti-Russian comments.

Authorities in Dagestan, which borders the rebel republic of Chechnya, warned Farrakhan that his visit Sunday was not welcome, said Magomed Tolboyev, Dagestan’s security chief.

Dagestan and Chechnya are predominantly Muslim.

“Americans may know (Farrakhan), but we don’t and have no such desire. We don’t need any foreign preachers here,” Tolboyev told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from Makhachkala, Dagestan’s capital.

Farrakhan, who is on a world tour with 27 Muslim leaders from various countries, spent one day in Dagestan and left for Iran late Sunday, when his Russian visa was about to expire.

Farrakhan said he wanted to meet Chechen leaders.

Tolboyev said no such meetings occurred. Police said they stopped Farrakhan from traveling to Dagestan’s border with Chechnya for a meeting with Movladi Udugov, Chechnya’s first deputy premier.

Tolboyev said Farrakhan made unspecified “anti-Russian” statements while in Dagestan.

Authorities in Dagestan fear the turmoil in Chechnya could destabilize their region.

The Russian government, which failed to suppress the Chechens’ independence bid during a 1994-1996 war, insists that Chechnya remains part of Russia and warns foreign nations against contacts with the breakaway region.

Officials at the Russian Foreign Ministry in Moscow declined comment on Farrakhan’s visit.

Farrakhan’s tour began in December with a trip to Iraq, angering U.S. officials who had advised him not to go. He also has visited Libya and plans to visit North Korea and Cuba - all countries that Americans are warned not to enter.

© Copyright 1998 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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