RELIGION

Authorities in Chechnya hold classes to stave off IS recruitment

  • In this photo taken on Thursday, Oct.  29, 2015, local students listen to Islamic clerics and government officials during a lecture of counter IS propaganda in Grozny, the capital of Chechnya, Southern Russia. Authorities in Russia’s predominantly Muslim republic of Chechnya are holding classes to stave off Islamic State recruitment. (AP Photo/Musa Sadulayev)

    In this photo taken on Thursday, Oct. 29, 2015, local students listen to Islamic clerics and government officials during a lecture of counter IS propaganda in Grozny, the capital of Chechnya, Southern Russia. Authorities in Russia’s predominantly Muslim republic of Chechnya are holding classes to stave off Islamic State recruitment. (AP Photo/Musa Sadulayev)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this photo taken on Thursday, Oct.  29, 2015, local students listen to Islamic clerics and government officials during a lecture of counter IS propaganda in Grozny, the capital of Chechnya, Southern Russia. Authorities in Russia’s predominantly Muslim republic of Chechnya are holding classes to stave off Islamic State recruitment. (AP Photo/Musa Sadulayev)

    In this photo taken on Thursday, Oct. 29, 2015, local students listen to Islamic clerics and government officials during a lecture of counter IS propaganda in Grozny, the capital of Chechnya, Southern Russia. Authorities in Russia’s predominantly Muslim republic of Chechnya are holding classes to stave off Islamic State recruitment. (AP Photo/Musa Sadulayev)  (The Associated Press)

Authorities in Russia's predominantly Muslim republic of Chechnya have organized classes to stave off Islamic State recruitment.

Thousands of Russian Muslim have joined the IS in Syria, and some have taken senior positions.

Islamic militancy engulfed Russia's North Caucasus, Dagestan in particular, following two separatist wars in neighboring Chechnya. While nearly 5,000 people are believed to have left Dagestan from Syria, the number of Chechen recruits is far lower.

Local students say many of their peers are tempted to go to Syria because they believe in a true Islamic state there.

To counter IS propaganda, Islamic clerics and government officials are holding meetings with high school and university students on how to avoid IS recruitment, explaining that IS distorts the true meaning of the Quran.