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Chechen Mufti Defends Fatwa That Calls Followers Of Nontraditional Islam 'Extremists'

Russia's Grand Mufti Ravil Gainutdin

Russia's Grand Mufti Ravil Gainutdin

The mufti of Russia's North Caucasus region of Chechnya has defended a fatwa adopted at an Islamic gathering in Grozny that proclaimed all nontraditional Islamic teachings across Russia as extremist.

Media reports in Chechnya on September 30 quoted Salakh Mezhiyev's open letter to the head of the Russian Muftis Council Ravil Gainutdin in which he fiercely defends the August 27 fatwa by the Islamic conference in Grozny.

The resolution adopted by the Grozny conference also concluded that the fatwa must be followed by all Muslims in Russia.

The move sparked harsh criticism among Muslims and Islamic scholars in and beyond Russia, who said that such fatwas may cause divisions within the country's Muslim community.

Gainutdin publicly expressed concerns over the fatwa, saying that it reflects peculiarities of some parts in the North Caucasus and might not properly work in Russia's other mostly Muslim-populated regions.

Gainutdin also said that such fatwas must be discussed by all the Muslims in the country before being adopted.