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Crimean Mufti Urges End To Registering Islamic Groups

Mufti Emirali Hajji Ablayev
Mufti Emirali Hajji Ablayev
SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine -- Crimean Muslim Mufti Emirali Hajji Ablayev says the local government should stop registering "radical Islamic groups," RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service reports.

Ablayev said Crimea's Committee on Religions "gives a green light to radical Islam" by registering Islamic groups similar to Hizb ut-Tahrir and that creates problems for supporters of "traditional Islam" on the peninsula.

He says officially registering such groups as Wahhabis, the Muslim Brotherhood, and Hizb ut-Tahrir may create problems among Muslims in Crimea.

But former Hizb ut-Tahrir activist Abduselyam Selyametov, who now represents Crimea's independent Islamic group Davet, told RFE/RL that the mufti should not dictate to the government which Islamic groups should be registered.

Selyametov said the mufti "just wants to get the independent Islamic groups under his own control."

The Spiritual Directorate of Muslims in Crimea currently controls 360 of the 420 local Islamic unions and organizations.

Crimea's Committee on Religions has not yet commented on the issue.