Friday, August 26, 2016

Caucasus Report

Beheading Of Poet Fuels Anti-Islamic Feeling In North Ossetia

North Ossetian President Taymuraz Mamsurov says that no regulations were breached in the police killing of David Murashev, who was allegedly responsible for the murder of poet Shamil Djigkayev.
North Ossetian President Taymuraz Mamsurov says that no regulations were breached in the police killing of David Murashev, who was allegedly responsible for the murder of poet Shamil Djigkayev.
The murder in Vladikavkaz last week of a venerated Ossetian poet, purportedly by a radical Muslim, has inevitably triggered a backlash against North Ossetia's Muslim minority, which is estimated at between 25 and 30 percent of the republic's population of 720,000.

Just hours after the putative killer was himself cornered and gunned down in a special operation on May 31, police rounded up some 15-20 Muslims who, North Ossetia's mufti Khadji-Murat Gatsalov claimed on June 2, are being roughed up in police custody and denied access to lawyers.

Shamil Djigkayev, 71, a poet and philology professor lauded by Russian State Duma deputy Arsen Fadzayev after his death as "the conscience of the [Ossetian] nation"  was found dead on the outskirts of Vladikavkaz on May 26. His head had been almost severed from his body.

The putative motive for Djigkayev's murder was a poem he published three years ago entitled "The Wolf-Cubs Set Forth on the Hajj," which cursed, and denigrated as "bloodthirsty predators" and "green beasts," a group of Chechens and Ingush whom Ossetians accuse of having desecrated a monument to the victims of the 2004 Beslan school hostage siege by stopping to urinate near it while en route to Mecca.

The pilgrims in question say their coach stopped and they alighted near the monument because it was time for daily prayers. The Ossetians said the halt was dictated by purely physiological needs, as they needed to relieve themselves. 
The poem was widely condemned, and Djigkayev received anonymous death threats. But he was not formally charged with inciting inter-religious hatred as some fellow Ossetians reportedly demanded.

Alleged Killer Died In Shoot-Out

On May 27, Russia's Investigative Committee identified as Djigkayev's killer David Murashev, 33, the only son of a wealthy Ossetian family. Murashev was said to have converted three years ago to "radical Islam."

Murashev was cornered by police on May 29 and shot dead in an exchange of fire during which he wounded three police officers. Officials subsequently claimed he had been planning "further crimes" and that he confessed before he was shot to having killed Djigkayev.

North Ossetian President Taymuraz Mamsurov, himself a Muslim, affirmed that Murashev was killed "in accordance with the law" after he ignored an order to surrender.

But Gatsalov, who on May 30 issued a statement saying that Djigkayev's killer, whoever he is, should "receive the harshest punishment envisaged by the law," on June 2 publicly questioned why the police had not managed to take Murashev alive.

North Ossetian Interior Ministry spokeswoman Alla Akhpolova said on June 1 that "a large number" of Murashev's closest associates had been taken into custody for questioning to ascertain whether they were accessories to the murder. According to Gatsalov, the detainees include at least one mosque imam.

The murder has highlighted yet again the distrust of the republic's Christian majority for the Muslim community. In a poll by the Ossetian news agency OSInform over 40 percent of respondents predicted that Djigkayev's murder would lead to a rise in religious tensions.

North Ossetian Interior Minister Lieutenant General Artur Akhmetkhanov (who  was born in 1962 in the then autonomous Bashkir Soviet Socialist Republic and whose surname suggests he is either a Bashkir or a Tatar, and thus at least nominally a Muslim), called on June 1 for "exceptional measures" to prevent young people from embracing radical Islam.

Few Signs Of Life From Radicals

Just how great a threat radical Islam poses in North Ossetia is difficult to assess. The radical Islamic group calling itself Kataib al Khoul, which warned of imminent attacks five years ago  has shown few signs of life since then, and with the exception of last September's suicide bomb attack on the Vladikavkaz central market, North Ossetia has to date largely been spared the process of "Kalashnikovization" that has encompassed most other North Caucasus republics.

Two experts questioned by the news agency Regnum both agreed that there are some  "adherents of radical Islamic groups" in North Ossetia, but declined even to speculate how many, and ruled out any connection between such groups and the Muslim Spiritual Board of North Ossetia (DUMSO) that Gatsalov heads.

Akhmed Yarlykapov of the Russian Academy of Sciences Oriental Institute added that he doubts very much there are any registered mosques in the republic that are not directly subordinate to the DUMSO [].

By contrast, Roman Silantiev, a Russian specialist in Islam, was quoted by Interfax on June 2 as saying the "level of radicalization of local Muslims is high even by the standards of the North Caucasus."

Silantiev blamed that trend on Gatsalov's predecessor, Ali Yevteyev, who was forced to resign one year ago after he admitted in an interview to having known Musa Mukozhev and Anzor Astemirov, who later played leading roles in the Islamic insurgency in Kabardino-Balkaria, when all three were students of theology.

Gatsalov was formally elected to head the DUMSO in March 2011, having served as acting mufti since Yevteyev resigned.
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Felipe Muñoz from: Santiago, Chile
June 03, 2011 19:21
This is the same i discussed some days before with Abdulmajid (about the issue of Mladic arrest), when i said to him: ''can you explain me why almost everyone don't want to share lands with muslims??''. I know very well that there're muslim tendencies (such as those exists in Central Asia) that doesn't approves the use of violence (explicity at least). However, those muslim tendencies that comes from Middle East (exactly Saudi Arabia) -such as wahabism and salafism- approves explicitly the violence, jihadism (against innocents of course, as they approve it... cowards), violent marthyrdom, and Sharia-related barbarisms. And it's quite obviously...if those comes from Saudi Arabia (as usually), that means that those are the 'Trully Expression' of this ''True Faith'' (as usually said my counterpart Abdulmajid). It's sad to see that there's SO MUCH people that insists and insists in the hypocrecy of trying to defend or justify this criminal behaviours coming from Islam... Can anyone tell me if North Ossetians have commited any Srebrenica??? :P NO. However, innocent christians are usually.. sry, i mean ALWAYS.. the target of the followers of this 'True Faith''. However, once and once again will appear people that will justify targeting them because radical muslims will label them as ''Pro-Russian''... What a laugh again!. Everyone is FREE to say what i like or not, and if north ossetians feels confortable living under Moscow it's OK. But even if that's the reason for muslim fundamentalists.. that DON'T GIVE THEM THE RIGHT TO ATTACK CHRISTIANS THERE. If they feel so unpleased, go back to your ''Darusalam'' of Saudi Arabia!.. Because christian north ossetians have the FULL RIGHT to live there.

So, in brief, i won't be surprised if any retaliatory attacks occurs in North Ossetia against muslims. And if occurs, can be easily taken as ''fair warning'' against this muslims that thinks that they can resort to violence to achieve what they want. After all, if Al-Qaeda and others never attacked serbians, was because they feared a strong counter-response against muslims. And i think that if this continues, christians will have no more choise but take arms against radical muslims,as a way to find respect. Nothing else left.

by: spadin from: ossetia
June 04, 2011 23:09
actually there less then 1 thousand real muslims in north ossetia! i wonder how anyone can claim the lie about big muslim minority in north ossetia! its muslim propoganda! ossetias are 99 % christians or supports native ossetian UasDin religion. p.s. the arrest of islamist are the only method to stop salafit propoganda and terror in ossetia!

About This Blog

This blog presents analyst Liz Fuller's personal take on events in the region, following on from her work in the "RFE/RL Caucasus Report." It also aims, to borrow a metaphor from Tom de Waal, to act as a smoke detector, focusing attention on potential conflict situations and crises throughout the region. The views are the author's own and do not represent those of RFE/RL.