The Spiritual Board of Muslims of North Ossetia (DUMSO) accepted
late on May 24 after a prolonged discussion the letter of resignation submitted by the republic's mufti, Ali-haji Yevteyev, four days earlier.
Yevteyev had been subjected to repeated criticism since the publication on May 2 of what the news agency Regnum
billed as an interview he gave to one of its journalists.
Yevteyev subsequently said that the "discussion," in which he made disparaging comments
about the Russian Orthodox clergy and admitted to having studied in Nalchik with two young theologians who subsequently became leading figures in the North Caucasus resistance, was never intended for publication.
Leading DUMSO member Khajimurat Gatsalov said that body expressed its support for Yevteyev the day before he submitted his resignation. Gatsalov noted
that the DUMSO is not empowered to name a successor to Yevteyev; a congress of the republic's Muslims must be convened to do so.
It is not clear why the DUMSO decided belatedly to accept Yevteyev's resignation.
Writing on May 26 in the Russian daily "Vremya novostei
," Ivan Sukhov pointed out that the appointment of Yevteyev, an ethnic Russian sympathetic to the Salafi school of Islam espoused by the North Caucasus Muslim insurgency, was a "unique experiment" that might have resulted in a broad dialogue between Salafis and adherents of the Shafii legal school of Sunni Islam officially approved and promoted by the Russian leadership.
"The idea of drawing Salafis into a civilized dialogue without the use of force has been floated ever more frequently in recent years by politicians whose responsibilities encompass the North Caucasus," Sukhov wrote.
According to official statistics, some 15 percent of North Ossetia's population of 700,000+ are Muslims; Yevteyev cited the higher figure of 30 percent.