Age[d] 1 to 17, the children rarely saw the light of day and had never left the property, attended school or been seen by a doctor, officials said on Wednesday. Their parents — sect members who call themselves “muammin,” from the Arabic for “believers” — were charged with child abuse.
The sect’s 83-year-old founder, Faizrakhman Satarov, who declared himself a prophet in contradiction to the principles of Islam, was charged with negligence, said Irina Petrova, deputy prosecutor in the provincial capital of Kazan.
The children were discovered when police searched the sect grounds as part of an investigation into the recent killing of a top Tatarstan Muslim cleric, an attack local officials blame on radical Islamist groups that have mushroomed in the oil-rich, Volga River province of Tatarstan.
Satarov ordered his followers to live in cells they dug under a three-story brick house topped by a small minaret with a tin crescent moon. Only a few sect members were allowed to leave the premises to work as traders at a local market, Russian media reported.
Clearly the sect leaders understand the concept of ‘property’; they were just applying it to the wrong things.