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Islamic Clergy Member Shot Dead In Southern Russia

KHASAVYURT, Russia -- An assistant to the imam of a local mosque has been shot dead in western Daghestan near the border with Chechnya, RFE/RL's North Caucasus Service reports.

Akhmed Osmanov was reportedly an advocate of dialogue with Muslim radicals.

He was returning home from the mosque in the village of Matsal-Aul, in the Khasavyurt district, late on November 12 when he was killed.

Osmanov was the seventh member of the Muslim clergy to be gunned down in the Caucasus this year.

Some clergymen have suggested that they be issued with weapons to protect themselves, but the chairman of the Spiritual Board of Muslims of Daghestan, Abdulla-hadji Magomedov, says doing so would only exacerbate tensions.

Magomedov told RFE/RL that the ongoing killings play into the hands of those who are out to fuel tensions in the region.

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

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