Al-Jazeera's long-serving Moscow bureau chief, Akram Khazam, said Monday he had been fired, and a Russian Islamic leader claimed the dismissal was in response to protests over allegedly anti-Muslim statements by the journalist.
Khazam, in an interview with Moscow's Ekho Moskvy radio, dismissed the accusations by Geidar Dzhemal, head of Russia's Islamic Committee, that he had insulted Islam.
However, Khazam said he believed "the Islamic factor played a role" in his dismissal because, in his view, "there were no professional reasons" for it.
In a statement posted on a Web Site for Russian Muslim journalists, Dzhemal said he had long pressed the Qatar-based channel to sack Khazam as Moscow bureau chief.
Khazam and Dzhemal could not immediately be reached for comment Monday, AP reported.