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How are those the only options?  Motivated by religious beliefs, or somehow motivated by atheism?
But I never said that those were the only options. I merely said that one was the most likely, and the other the least likely.

Absolutely.  But let's be careful to not re-write history today.  I'm watching the news, and everyone is trying to find Chechnya on a map.  I've worked with Chechen refugees, and heard horrors beyond conception.  I googled the testimony of one young woman I worked with http://www.csce.gov/index.cfm?FuseAction=ContentRecords.ViewWitness&ContentRecord_id=272&ContentType=D&ContentRecordType=D&ParentType=H&CFID=74886581&CFTOKEN=21428909 and found that it does not contain some of the more gruesome specifics that she shared with me. 

So, some quick facts.  A Russian oil pipeline ran through Chechnya.  After the collapse of the former Soviet Union, Chechnya became independent, just like so many other nations that were previously part of the Soviet Union.  The Chechens thought that if the pipeline ran through their territory, they had the right to tap into it.  The Russians disagreed.  The sent in troops.  Burned villages and cities.  In Grozny, every school, library, hospital was destroyed.  There is evidence that they set up incendiary systems, (think Nazi ovens) to burn the bodies of the Chechens and leave no sign that the individuals had ever lived. 

If these kids grew up in Chechnya, this was their childhood.

At the same time, angry Chechens, who had lived under forced the secularism of the Soviet Union, decided to adopt the religion of their ancestors, and embrace Islam.  I remember talking with Aset, (the woman whose testimony I linked) who believed that claiming Islam was part of claiming the cultural identity that the Soviet Union had attempted to strip from them.  She was a bright, educated young woman, who talked about a people attempting to adopt a religion that they genuinely knew nothing about, while living in a war zone.  But they really had no traditions.  They were making it up as they went along, like kids playing house or price and princess. 

If these kids grew up in Chechnya, this was their childhood. 

Of course, in the years after Aset escaped from Chechnya, there was an influx of foreign radicals, who provided instruction for the angry Chechen survivors on how to be proper Muslims. 

I just want to write this down.  Now.  Before the media creates a portrait of Chechnya that will eventually become part of our national consciousness.
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