Teenager with Muslim background saved over 100 people in Moscow concert hall terrorist attack

Fifteen-year-old Islam Khalilov led more than 100 people out of Crocus City Hall during the terrorist attack. Screenshot of YouTube video by BakuTV YouTube Channel. Fair use.

Russia is mourning after the largest terrorist attack in years occurred in Moscow on the night of March 22, leaving over 143 people dead, according to the latest official figures.

Experts predict that the xenophobia and racism that are rampant in Russia will become even more pronounced now, as the individuals detained for the terrorist act are allegedly Muslims related to the Islamic State.

As the exiled independent Russian media Meduza reported, 15-year-old Islam Khalilov, who works part-time as a cloakroom attendant, led more than 100 people out of Crocus Concert Hall during the terrorist attack by showing them the exit to the street through the office premises.  The Telegram channel 112 was the first to report this.

Islam Khalilov himself told the Moscow Online publication that he had been working part-time in the concert hall for about a year. On the day of the terrorist attack, he started his shift at 4 pm. When the attack began and he heard loud noises, he initially thought that “maybe some noisy company had come.” Khalilov realized something was wrong when people started running from the direction of the stairs.

Я понимал, что если не среагирую, то свою жизнь потеряю и жизни многих людей. Честно, было очень страшно. Когда я был в толпе людей, шел к двери, чтобы открыть, думал, с лестницы либо с эскалатора могут выйти, не знаю, гранату кинуть или огонь на поражение открыть. Слава богу, ничего не произошло, я вовремя успел открыть дверь и всех выпустить

I understood that if I didn’t react, I would lose my life and the lives of many people. Honestly, it was very scary. When I was in a crowd of people, walking to the door to open it, I thought they might come out of the stairs or from the escalator, I don’t know, throw a grenade or open lethal fire. Thank God, nothing happened, I managed to open the door in time and let everyone out.

Khalilov explained that, as an employee, he was instructed on how to act in an emergency situation, so he “knew where to take people to protect them.” As a result, he escorted about 100 people to the entrance of Crocus Expo, a building adjacent to Crocus Concert Hall. The teenager exited the building last so that he would know, in his words, “that he left no one behind.”

Мама была в шоке, плакала из-за того, что мне всё это пришлось пережить. Что всё это было на моих глазах. Я сам еще, если честно, в шоковом состоянии. На моих глазах мужчину пристрелили, не могу перестать об этом думать.

Mom was in shock, crying because I had to go through all this. That all this happened before my eyes. To be honest, I’m still in a state of shock. A man was shot before my eyes, I can’t stop thinking about it.

As Meduza wrote, Khalilov is a fan of the football club Spartak Moscow. When his actions became known, the club invited the teenager to a meeting with the players and gave him a season ticket for home matches.

According to the Telegram Channel Ostorozhno Novosti (Be careful, this is News), Rap musician Alisher Morgenshtern (who has an anti-war stance and is currently living in exile) said he sent the teenager RUB 1 million (USD 10,760). According to the teenager, his family is using this money to pay off loans.

Khalilov will also be awarded the Russian Muslim Medal “For Merit,” said Ravil Gainutdin, the head of the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Russia, writes RBC. The award will be presented to the teenager at the Cathedral Mosque in Moscow during the next Friday prayer.

Start the conversation

Authors, please log in »


  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.