Muslim Arabs find warm welcome in Russia’s remote Grozny

Source: Associated Press

By HAMZA HENDAWI

GROZNY, Russia (AP) — Even during the World Cup, which brought hordes of foreigners to Russia, the capital of Chechnya remained well off the beaten path for most travelers. The Grozny airport doesn’t even have a conveyor belt for collecting baggage when you arrive. Bags are lined up in a small side room instead.

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Once there, though, visitors will find a unique mix of Islam and exceptional hospitality — along with signs of lingering conflicts related to the country’s civil war.

Muslims visiting from the Arab world will get a particularly warm welcome. Grozny residents seem eager to demonstrate their connections to Islam, perhaps in part because of their relative isolation as Muslims in Russia.

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