THE ROLE OF ISLAMIC FACTOR IN CRISIS SETTLEMENT IN CHECHNIA
Sergey Berezhnoy, Leading analyst, Department of Analysis and Information, the Staff of the Plenipotentiary Representative of the President of the Russian Federation in the Southern Federal Okrug (Rostov on Don, Russian Federation)
Academics, politicians and journalists alike have been displaying a profound interest in the role the Islamic factor and its most radical manifestations play in the Chechen crisis.1 Chechnia is an Islamic region in which the Sufi orders of Qadiriya and Naqshbandiya predominate. Islam has been gradually coming to the fore in the republic’s latest history, the progress became especially obvious in the early 1990s. The crisis of communist ideology pushed the leaders of the Chechen-Ingush republic toward reviving Islam as the dominant idea. Step by step the faithful were getting their mosques back, new mosques appeared, declarations about the role of Islam in Chechnia were cleansed of atheistic wordage.2 The Sufi orders had left behind many years of clandestine existence and the masses greeted their leaders as popular figures. At that period Islam was treated as one of the remedies designed to restore the Chechens as an ethnic entity.
As soon as General Dudaev came to power Islam was turned into an ideological weapon to be used against the federal Center to set the faithful Chechens against the infidel Russians and against the local forces wishing to continue the dialog with Russia. In his Sufi republic Dudaev staked on the Qadiriya tarekats the members of which had been isolated during the years of Soviet power. Those who supported the Naqshbandiya tarekats found themselves in opposition to Dudaev and his regime while the contradictions inside the Chechen Muslim community made the crisis deeper and tinged it with religious hues.
The war that started in 1994 radicalized the Chechen society still more. Amid fighting many political forces appealed to Islam and its most radical forms. During the first campaign of 1994-1996 traditional Islam had to make space to considerable numbers of those who supported the “revivalist” movement in Islam and called on the people to translate the literal meaning of the Koranic prescriptions into life. They rejected all traditions of the Chechen variant of Islam and Sufism as one of them. It was early in the 1990s that Wahhabism came to the republic.3 This was possible because society had become more democratic. Contacts with Islamic centers abroad had become more frequent and the republic had become more open to new ideological constructs the Islamic world was developing all the time. Sunni fundamentalism (or the Salafi trend) was thriving at the expense of local Sufism that was mercilessly criticized. Sufism relied on the traditional clan (teip) structure and the patriarchal custom according to which an opinion issued by the religious authority was uncontestable. The level of religious education was low, therefore the local Muslim clergy could not find answers to many questions posed by novel developments. Before fighting started the number of the Salafites in the republic had been negligible and the wide masses had not responded favorably to their ideas.4 During the armed conflict the situation changed radically. A great number of mercenaries penetrated the republic while Islamist organizations from other countries maintained a continued flow of weapons and other means (money included) designed to keep the fire of hostilities burning. This was presented as a jihad and found response in the fairly radical Chechen society. By the time the first war ended in 1996, the Wahhabis had reached the peak of their popularity: they had developed into an independent political force. By that time the so-called Wahhabi movement in Chechnia had next to nothing in common with a movement that wanted to reform Islam. It was part of the international terrorist network that used Islam as a screen. These forces were prepared to sacrifice the republic to the idea of spreading jihad beyond its frontiers.
The Wahhabis’ political weight is best illustrated by the decree President Maskhadov issued in 1999 that introduced the Shari‘a as the dominant principle in Ichkeria when the authorities steered the republic toward an Islamic state. It should be said that this failed to consolidate Maskhadov’s regime; administration was further disorganized. The fact that the armed Wahhabi detachments were not controlled by the state authorities led to the invasion of Daghestan and the Chechen fighters’ military defeat there. The Maskhadov regime, however, had enough forces and money that partly arrived through the Wahhabi structures to remain at the helm. The opposition was less organized and underequipped. It was in this context that the leaders of Russia decided to launch a counter-terrorist operation in Chechnia where the ruling regime had been already threatening Russia and the entire Caucasus. This happened long before the tragic events of 11 September, 2001 in the United States.
By the beginning of the counter-terrorist operation in fall 1999 the republic had been politically disorganized. Its state structures that obeyed Maskhadov coexisted with the system of independently administered Wahhabi jamaats. With the help of foreign Islamist organizations they controlled a great deal of what was going on in the republic. The help from abroad made them stronger and brought support of the official structures many members of which lined their pockets with the money coming from other countries. The Wahhabis never wanted a strong government in Chechnia. In fact, the latter tried, from time to time, to establish its control over the Wahhabi structures. To put pressure on the official bodies the Wahhabis lavishly poured out Islamist rhetoric and tried to pass their desire to keep Maskhadov’s “too secular” regime in check for their concern with the norms of true Islam being applied in the republic.
It should be noted that those who opposed the Wahhabis have been always fairly strong in Chechnia. Even before the counter-terrorist operation Mufti of the republic Akhmad Kadyrov frequently pointed out that the ideology of the local Wahhabis was destructive while their stronger influence was fraught with negative effects.5 This explains why once the separatists had been removed from power and once President Putin made Kadyrov head of the administration of the Chechen Republic the new leaders took an unflagging position toward Wahhabism. In summer 2001, Kadyrov banned all Wahhabi religious organizations and groups in Chechnia. Their mosques and unofficial religious classes for children had to be closed.6 The ban caused a contradictory response from the public7 yet, on the whole, proved useful because of a very specific situation in which Islam had been developing in the republic: amid instability Chechnia experienced a surge of religious feelings while Islam and its institutions had a special role to play in the Republic of Ichkeria. Indeed, while the state declined and its institutions discredited themselves or disappeared altogether the mosques and the clergy emerged as the key public opinion forming element.
The new authorities continued counter-Wahhabi propaganda and stressed that Wahhabism was not an Islamic movement at all. After a large-scale terrorist act in Grozny in fall 2000 the imam of the city mosque Bilal Hajji said to the prayers who had barely recovered from the shock: “The perpetrators, those who murder innocent people can no longer call themselves Muslims.”8 In the wake of the terrorist act of 9 May, 2002 in Kaspiisk Mufti of Chechnia Akhmad Hajji Shamaev branded the terrorists as “enemies of Allah and all Muslims.”9 On 11 June, 2002 the Spiritual Administration of the Muslims and the Council of Elders of Chechnia addressed the Chechen people through the mass media. They called on them to work toward peace in the republic and to oppose Wahhabism. The address said, in particular: “Today, the fighters kill people in their homes, they blast them on the roads and in offices… Those who have faith in Allah would never dare to kill another human being. We are murdered only because we are living according to the Koranic prescriptions… Stealing, kidnapping, robberies, slavery and misanthropy were planted in the minds of our young people as inalienable attributes of Islam… It was Basaev, Khattab and their henchmen who brought all this to our republic. This has nothing in common with Islam… Maskhadov call all Chechens now working in the economy of the Chechen Republic traitors, secret informers, and spies and dismisses the allims, the respected elders and the spiritual leaders as infidels. Each of the Muslims in the republic should ask himself: Why did Maskhadov and Basaev usurp the right to decide who was a Muslim and who was not? Maskhadov’s cronies that call themselves sometime the Shura and sometimes the Supreme Shari‘a Court are doing their dirty deed to preserve their wealth and to seek personal gain by misleading the people with the name of Allah and quotes from the Koran and the Hadiths.”10
The republican administration has staked on uniting the Chechen clergy against religious extremism. Some of the Muslim religious figures have united into a so-called Council of the Descendants of the Prophet Muhammad, the Ustazes and Sheikhs of the Chechen Republic that favors a settlement in Chechnia.11 Many of those who consistently opposed not only Wahhabism but also alls sorts of extremism fell victim to persecution by terrorists. According to Mufti of Chechnia Shamaev 17 imams were killed in the last two years.12
Today the republican leaders are building an administrative vertical of the Islamic organizations based on Sufism traditional for the republic. By 10 February, 2002, 22 religious organizations had been registered; administrative structures were also created. The government received a department for religious affairs headed by V. Sherdiev. All Islamic religious organizations in the republic are administered by Idarat (Spiritual Administration of the Muslims of the Chechen Republic) that coordinates everything that the Muslim communities are doing. It is for the mufti of the republic to endorse all curricula of the religious educational establishments and to approve all imam candidates. The administration is also responsible for pilgrimages to Saudi Arabia. The state bodies and local administrations are actively cooperating with religious organizations in an effort to organize peaceful life in the republic. They organized joint events dealing with moral problems, oppose drug trafficking and the use of drugs and call on the faithful to observe laws. There are 352 mosques in the republic though the majority of them remain unregistered because of financial difficulties.13 There are eight madrasahs and one higher educational establishment (the Islamic Institute in the village of Kurchaloy). They train members of the clergy, teachers of Arabic, and translators.14
In 2001-2002, the government of Ichkeria polled all local administrations about the religious situation in the republic. It turned out that in the majority of districts the official clergy are closely cooperating with the local secular authorities, law enforcement and other power structures. Nearly in all districts on Fridays imams of the local mosques speak to people, explain to them the fundamentals of their faith and denounce Wahhabism, the use of drugs, liquor, etc. Heads of the local administrations, representatives of the departments for internal affairs and military offices are invariably present at the session to answer questions from the people. The clergy are also using TV where it is possible. Imams are invited to sittings of local administrations where their opinion is highly valued. The local administrators are ready to help mosques with money or construction materials since many temples were damaged during the warfare. The majority of those who supplied information pointed out that such aid was still inadequate. The heads of the Nadterechniy District are doing much more than usual: under an instruction of the administration head each imam has 5 hectares of land tilled by people from the state farms. The imams get the yield; the state farms also pay for the children studying in the local branch of the Islamic Institute while the administration helps the mosques conduct religious events.15 On the whole the republican government is doing its best to support traditional Islam through the corresponding structures. The same is being done in other subjects of the Russian Federation where the religious situation is more or less the same, namely in Daghestan and Ingushetia.
There are numerous Muslim communities in Chechnia that have an adequate infrastructure, there are religious educational establishments. The polling of district administrations provided a complete picture of the Muslim communities in the republic.
There are nine mosques in the Staropromyslovskiy District of Grozny in which nine imams serve. Early in 2002 a district council of the imams was set up that closely cooperated with the council of the elders. In the Lenin District there are three badly damaged mosques yet there are four imams in the district and one mufti. In the October District only one mosque out of seven remained standing, therefore the faithful gather in industrial premises, educational establishments and other places. In the Zavodskoy District four out of six mosques were ruined; there are five imams.
In the north there are the following Muslim communities. The Nadterechniy District has 14 mosques with 12 imams; a branch of the Al-Nasukh-Hajji Islamic Institute is functioning in the village of Znamenskoe. There are 13 mosques in the Shelkovskaia District with 19 imams; the Naurskaia District has 14 mosques. According to official information 90 percent of the local 55 thou people are Muslim Chechens, the followers of Kunt Hajji vird (Zikr). They represent 12 large teips in which elected elders supervise moral education and control morality. Koranic courses are functioning at the mosque in the village of Naurskaia.
There are 18 mosques in the Gudermes District, five were destroyed. There is a district imam. Twenty-three imams are working in the settlements; there is a branch of the Kurchaloy Islamic Institute. Local authorities pointed out that religious education is thriving: people repeatedly ask to open Koranic courses at the main mosque in Gudermes. There are enough potential teachers living in the district.
The Shali District has 51 mosques (eight of them ruined), six madrasahs with 600 students and 20 teachers. The officially registered higher educational establishment—the Al-Nasukh-Hajji Islamic Institute—is also found in the Shali District, in the village of Kurchaloy. According to official information there are mosques in each settlement of the Urus-Martan District, there is also a mufti and 13 imams. Twelve imams are working in the Achkhoi-Martan District.
The situation in the Nozhai-Iurt District is the best illustration of what is going on in all other districts of Chechnia. According to local administration there are 47 mosques there (34 of them are completely or partially ruined), 23 mosques are relatively new—they were built in the 1990s. Every Friday about six thousand people gather for prayers; there are 47 imams at the mosques, 33 of them being over 50; only seven of them have higher education (two were educated at higher religious educational establishments), others have either secondary or primary education.
This shows that the Islamic factor is an important element in the republic’s social life and that the mosques still serve as a link between the public and the authorities. On the whole the Islamic structures are one of the few smoothly functioning social mechanisms. Today, official Islam has come to grips with several problems: social instability, lack of trained clergy, shortage of material resources, and the need to organize religious education. Many of the problems are inherited from the Soviet period when religious development in the Muslim areas was deformed. This created an upsurge of interest in Islam in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The traditional Muridic structures plunged into politics. There appeared movement for renovation of Islam. Islamic potential is still great in the republic, therefore religious policy should receive priority attention while the situation is being settled. The republic badly needs mechanisms of cooperation between the secular authorities and the Spiritual Administration of the Muslims of Chechnia that is expected to achieve a balance between the Sufi and other Islamic trends.
The terrorist groups that are still fighting in the republic are actively exploiting the Islamic factor. They stress that the ideology of Islamism is the only road open for the Chechens. During the armed phase of the counter-terrorist operation the so-called Wahhabis lost their influence on the authorities. At the same time, while operating clandestinely in the areas controlled by official structures they remain the striking force that stands opposed to the federal troops and the local administrators. The separatist movement as a whole has become more Islamic: the republic is divided among the armed units that form jamaats with field commanders (amirs) at the head. Money comes from the leaders of the “Wahhabi” movement. At the early stages of the counter-terrorist operation there was still an illusion of parity between the “state” structures of Ichkeria and the detachments of the Wahhabi jamaats. It was the time when separatist press carried information of the following nature: “Commander-in-Chief A. Maskhadov pointed out in his order that according to a decision of the State Defense Committee of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria the commanders of the fronts, sectors, groups and the emirs of the groups of jamaats had agreed…”16
Today, information coming from the separatists’ camp is mainly of a Wahhabi nature. The so-called Shura (Council) of the field commanders, who are Wahhabis, acts as a supreme (sometimes formal) body that supervises the jamaats and distributes money among them to pay for continued fighting. The money coming from abroad is an important incentive for the Wahhabi detachments: there is stiff rivalry, developing into clashes, over the posts of district and local amirs who have direct access to the money and its distribution. For example, on 12 September, 2002 at the village of Starye Atagy (Urus-Martan District) fighters of Isa Sadaev clashed with couriers sent by Shamil Basaev to deliver money to Zelimkhan Akhmadov and his people so that they could continue fighting in the area. This happened because Isa Sadaev wanted to become the amir of the local jamaat so that to control the money that was due to the area.17
Many of the local people are still supporting the Wahhabis. Their agents are still working among the youth, especially young men from poor families. They release and distribute their illegal publications, give food and money to the families of those who had joined the militants, set up so-called study groups to read the Koran and study Arabic. These educational efforts are combined with brainwashing after which the students are dispatched to the mountain camps for more training. The local traditions also play an important role: relatives always close ranks, there is still a tradition of blood feud, members of the same teip can expect total support even if they are engaged in criminal activities, etc. There are quasi-Wahhabi jamaats in certain districts the members of which go to clandestine mosques and are not inclined to follow the Sufi traditions. They maintain contacts with the fighters. Wahhabi communities prefer to meet in such places where their gathering can be attended by field commanders.
Mercenaries from other countries are playing an increasingly greater role in the detachments fighting the federal forces. Back in August 2000 at a meeting in the vicinity of the Vedeno village Khattab, a notorious Arab terrorist and one of the field commanders in Chechnia, suggested that foreign fighters be given the key posts because, he claimed, the Chechen field commanders who had escaped to the neighboring countries (Georgia and Azerbaijan) were cowards. He insisted, at the same time, that the number of foreigners fighting in his detachments was relatively small. According to the republican law enforcement bodies “there were about 250-300 foreigners fighting in Chechnia under Basaev and Khattab, two most odious field commanders.”18 It was reported that foreigners became needed because it had become much harder to attract volunteers to replace casualties to say nothing of increasing the units’ numerical strength. This changed the quality of the terrorist forces, set them different programs and offered different tactics.19 Late in April 2002 as soon as it became known that Khattab had been killed the Federal Security Service made public information about the leading role of the foreign terrorist organizations in the separatist leadership: “Khattab was one of the members of the so-called Shura, that is, a council of field commanders. Basaev was the only Chechen among the Shura 11 members. Others were Arabs de facto headed by Khattab.”20 Stronger foreign influence created and supported by Islamic organizations in other countries has put the issue of Chechnia’s independence as the aim proclaimed by the separatists on the back burner. The sole aim of the “Islamist International” and its leaders is to keep the fire of jihad burning. The separatist leaders and foreign mercenaries dismiss as insignificant the losses among the local people caused by their terrorist acts. The “Wahhabis” are fighting federal forces and local authorities, and members of the local intelligentsia and the clergy with an equal zeal. According to certain sources, they are responsible for at least 40 deaths of the most respected people.21 They want to sow fear and to wipe away the progressively-minded part of the Chechens who are inclined to find a compromise with the federal authorities, and oppose armed separatists and their attempts to plant Islamism in the republic.
The field commanders are still hoping to win the clergy and the local people over to their side; they do not stop at psychological pressure on the common people and especially on the members of the clergy mainly high up in the mountains where they disseminated the addresses of the so-called Supreme Military Council signed by Basaev and Khattab. They hurled accusations and threats at those who worked with the local administrations and those of the religious figures who cooperated with the federal structures and invited the clergy “to redeem their sins against the Chechen nation by helping the mojahedin in their fight against the occupants.” The “amendments to the Constitution of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria” that appeared on the “Kavkaz-tsentr” site ran by Udugov finally sealed the reorientation of the separatist movement to the positions of Islamism. The preamble says that the Majlisul Shura chaired by the head of state will become the supreme body of power in the republic, its members being “the amirs and allims actively involved in the jihad.” Some of the amendments reflect the key trends obvious in the camp of separatists: authoritarianism and complete dependence on the foreign extremist organizations. The so-called constitution declares: “Obedience to the amirs in what is approved, observation of nizam, protection of what was entrusted, discipline in the affairs of the state are binding on all.” It also said that “the Ansari Muslims who are now fighting the jihad to defend freedom and independence of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria are its equal citizens” and that “a call to Islam, obedience to what is allowed and keeping away of what is banned, protecting and healing the society that the infidels are trying to cripple are a duty of the Majlisul Shura, the government, and all Muslims.”
Researchers are convinced that the Wahhabis are pushing the republic onto the road along which Afghanistan has already treaded. In the last eight years there appeared a generation (of about 150 to 200 thou people) that received no education and can do nothing else but fight and plunder. Being unable to do useful jobs they may become a social basis of those who preach war and violence in Chechnia and outside it. In fact, the still unresolved social and cultural problems have turned Chechnia into an ideal site for testing the manageable conflict technology.22 The Wahhabis have staked on turning Chechnia into a radical fundamentalist Islamic society.
The federal forces have checked the Islamists: not infrequently the media report about deaths of amirs and destroyed Wahhabi groups. In fact, according to such reports the movement sustained considerable losses in 2002. On 11 January, an “emir” of the local jamaat Takhir Elgushev known as Mamriuk was killed during a special operation of the federal forces at the village of Sary-Su (Shelkovskaia District).23 Magomed Gutsuev, “deputy emir of the Argun jamaat,” was killed during another special operation of the federal forces in Argun. On 8 September federal forces killed Uvais Iandarbiev in Nozhai-Iurt District. Spokesmen of official structures said that shortly before that Maskhadov had appointed him an “emir” and commander of the Gudermes sector of the so-called Eastern Front.24 On 10 September the law enforcement structures detained an “emir” of the Nadterechniy District Aslan Betiev who had been in hiding in Ingushetia for a long time. He was responsible for terrorist acts in the area and in two years received from Maskhadov about $50 thou.25 On 11 September the leader of the local “Wahhabi jamaat” Umar Umarov was killed in Kurchaloy in the course of a special operation.26 Late in October “the emir of the Wahhabis” of the Shali District Naib Khadissov was killed during a special operation in the village of Mesker-Iurt, Shali District.27
This should not be taken to mean that the Islamists are losing their grip. Extremists are continuing their clandestine activities, their ranks are replenished with volunteers (mainly young people) attracted by the money coming from abroad and from criminal structures inside the country. Some of these criminal structures are “blessed by Islam.” Even before the counter-terrorist operation in the Urus-Martan District (the center of military training and ideological brainwashing) started a certain emir Abdurrahman who was the Wahhabis’ ideological leader had distributed fatwas on kidnapping.28 The brothers Akhmadov, who were also Wahhabis, were active in the same district. They and their units were specializing in kidnapping. There is information that the brothers earned at least $10m in this way. The jamaat leaders earn money in many ways: they are involved in illicit drug trafficking, extraction, processing, and selling of oil and petroleum products. The Wahhabis are doing their best to plant their moles in the newly created administrative structures with an obvious intention to procure information about the federal forces. For example, Khavazhi Askhabov, deputy military commandant of the Shali District, was behind a large-scale terrorist act that happened in Shali in September 2002. According to the spokesman of the federal forces he “was maintaining contacts with the Wahhabi wing of the so-called ‘Shali front’ that the so-called President of Ichkeria Maskhadov commanded through his representatives.”29
The quasi-Wahhabi movement in the republic is an extremist and terrorist organization that is exploiting Islam as an ideological screen for acts of terror and subversion and other crimes. The movement for a “pure Islam” has become trapped: on the one hand, it is used by extremists, on the other, it feels the pressure of the new authorities. The head of the Chechen administration Akhmad Kadyrov issued a decree that banned Wahhabism in the republic by identifying all non-Sufi movements in Islam with extremism. After the terrorist act of 9 May, 2002 in Kaspiisk in Daghestan, mufti of Chechnia Akhmad Hajji Shamaev declared: “All extremist movements in Islam that have been imposed on the Chechens should be outlawed.”30 Kadyrov suggested that a federal law on criminal responsibility of the Wahhabis should be adopted. He insists that Wahhabism is not a religious trend—this is a terrorist and extremist movement. He says that no dialog is possible with those who support Wahhabism and that such people refuse to understand others.31
We can see that today Islam is one of the key factors in Chechnia where its traditional form of the North Caucasian Sufism (Muridism) presented by the brotherhoods of Naqshbandiya and Qadiriya and numerous virds predominates. In the past the relations between them were far from simple—today, in the face of Wahhabism they pushed the contradictions away. The movement for a pure Islam that hoisted a flag of cleansing religion of all “banned novelties” has good prospects in Chechnia and the Northern Caucasus. Right now it remains suppressed by extremists who call themselves Wahhabis. It will develop as soon as terrorism and extremism are uprooted and criminal groups liquidated.
Those who support traditional Islam control the Spiritual Administration of the Muslims of the Chechen Republic and the majority of the top posts in religious structures. They are in control of all religious educational establishments. The dominant group is made mostly of members of Qadiriya Brotherhood to which head of the republican administration Akhmad Kadyrov also belongs. On the whole their domination is determined by the repressive policies in relation to the Islamist groups that the administration regards as religious extremists. In future this position may be described as an authoritarian one. The situation may start moving in the right direction only if the republic creates conditions conducive to a congress of all Islamic communities and organizations to resolve the main problems that the Muslim umma of Chechnia is facing.
1 See, for example: V.Kh. Akaev, “Religiozno-politicheskiy konflikt v Chechenskoi Respublike Ichkeria,” Tsentral’naia Azia i Kavkaz, No. 5, 1999; V.Kh. Akaev, S.S. Magomadov, “Sufiiskie bratstva v Chechne, ikh vzaimootnoshenia i uchastie v sovremennoi obshchestvenno-politicheskoi zhizni,” Nauchnaia mysl’ Kavkaza, No. 3, 1996; I.P. Dobaev, “Islamskiy radikalizm v kontekste voenno-politicheskoi bezopasnosti na Severnom Kavkaze,” Nauchnaia mysl’ Kavkaza, No. 1, 1999; S.E. Berezhnoy, I.P. Dobaev, P.V. Krainiuchenko, Islam v sovremennykh respublikakh Severnogo Kavkaza, SKNTs VSh Publishers, Rostov on Don, 2002.
2 See: A. Saveliev, “Parallelniy Islam”—ideologia banditizma [http://www.pravoslavie.ru].
3 See: V.Kh. Akaev, “Sufiiskie bratstva i Wahhabity,” Azia i Afrika segodnia, No. 6, 1998, pp. 50-51.
4 See: M. Iusupov, “Islam v sotsial’no-politicheskoi zhizni Chechni,” Tsentral’naia Azia i Kavkaz, No. 2 (8), 2000.
5 For more detail, see: V.Kh. Akaev, “Religiozno-politicheskiy konflict v Chechenskoi Respublike Ichkeria.”
6 See: [http://mechet.perm.ru].
7 For example, Chairman of the Council of Muftis of Russia Ravil Gainutdin said in an interview to the Segodnia newspaper that legal bans could not be effective in the fight against Wahhabism. He referred to the experience of Daghestan that in 1999 had passed a law banning this religious trend. He added that the “law remained on paper” because it was “impossible to separate the Wahhabis from the rest of the Muslims.”
8 ITAR-TASS, Grozny, 13 October, 2000.
9 ITAR-TASS, reported by correspondent Said Isaev, Grozny, 15 May, 2002.
10 See: [www.islam.ru].
11 See: V.Kh. Akaev, “Problemy islamskogo revivalizma na Severnom Kavkaze nakanune i posle raspada SSSR,” Information server of the Government of the Chechen Republic, 2001 [www.chechnya.gov.ru].
12 ITAR-TASS, reported by correspondent Said Isaev, Grozny, 15 May, 2002.
13 The archives of the Ministry of Justice of the Chechen Republic perished during hostilities in Grozny, therefore nobody knows how many registered mosques there are in the republic. According to unofficial information there are up to 487 of them. Only 11 mosques have reregistered so far with the Ministry of Justice Territorial Structure for the Chechen Republic; 36 mosques were completely destroyed, 204 partly ruined while other remained nearly intact.—Author’s Note.
14 The figures referred to 14 February, 2002 were supplied by the government of the Chechen Republic.
15 Information was supplied by the administration of the Nadterechniy District “Spravka o provodimoy rabote s imamom i stareyshinami Nadterechnogo rayona i religioznoy obstanovke v rayone” (Information about work with the imam and the elders of the Nadterechniy District and the religious situation there).
16 Ichkeria, No. 40, 14 December, 2001.
17 “Vsemirnye novosti KM.RU,” 12 September, 2002 [www.km.ru].
18 ITAR-TASS, reported by correspondent Sergey Bodanov, Moscow, 26 March, 2002.
19 ITAR-TASS, 13 October, 2000.
20 ITAR-TASS, 26 April, 2002.
21 See: V.Kh. Akaev, “Problemy islamskogo revivalizma na Severnom Kavkaze nakanune i posle raspada SSSR.”
22 See: Nezavisimaia gazeta, 8 July, 1998.
23 See: Kommersant, 11 January, 2002.
24 ITAR-TASS, reported by correspondent Valery Vedernikov. Nozhai-Iurt District of the Chechen Republic, 8 September, 2002.
25 ITAR-TASS, reported by correspondent Said Isaev, Grozny, 10 September, 2002.
26 ITAR-TASS, 11 September, 2002.
27 Reported by an Internet site Strana.ru, 30 October, 2002.
28 See: V.Kh. Akaev, “Islam i politika (na materialakh sovremennoy Chechni),” Islam i politika na Severnom Kavkaze, Rostov on Don, 2001, p. 64.
29 ITAR-TASS, reported by correspondent Valery Vedernikov, Grozny, 12 September, 2002.
30 ITAR-TASS, reported by Said Iasev, Grozny, 15 May, 2002.
31 Reported by an Internet site Strana.ru, 27 August, 2002.