Moscow (AsiaNews) - The Russian Orthodox Church has joined the condemnation of political and Islamic authorities of the recent murder of a prominent Muslim community leader in Dagestan. At the same time it offers its cooperation to combat religious extremism in the Caucasus republic.
The murder of Maksud I. Sadikov, rector of the Institute of Theology and international relations, last June 7 in the city of Makhachkala, has continued to stir controversy in Russia. Of Sufi orientation, Sadikov led the university since 2003 promoting moderate education, with financial support from the Kremlin; he had launched a program of introduction of Sufism in the schools in the region in order to fight terrorism by supporting this form of mystical and more tolerant Islam. Shot, while in his car with a relative, Sadikov had been the target of threats from guerrillas of the North Caucasus for several months. For now, however, the police have not identified a culprit, while the authorities in Dagestan have promised to bring the murderers to justice.
Some Muslim spiritual leaders have already called the dean a "martyr of the faith." "Maksud I. Sadikov argued that the best weapon against political and religious extremism was a sound education in religion - said the Muftis of All Russia in a statement to, one of the organizations representing Muslims in the Federation - which is why he supported all the forces who opposed the rise of Wahhabism in the North Caucasus. "
The Moscow Patriarchate has commemorated a person they considered a "good friend of our Church”. Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, head of the department for relations between the Church and society affirmed: the assassination of Sadikov shows that "Muslims who respect the historical traditions of their people and encourage the faithful of Islam to opt for peace and dialogue continue to be victims of terrorists who seek to justify their crimes with religious matters".
According to Chaplin, it's time that "the State and the entire nation help the Islamic umma in Russia to decidedly reject those arguments that do not favor peace, the creation of fraternal cooperation with other nations and religions in the country."
Like other members of the moderate Islamic community already killed the past few months, Sadikov was a target for Islamic terrorists, whose strategy in the North Caucasus includes symbolic actions rather than targeted killings in public places. Last year, for example, in Kabardino-Balkaria the following were assassinated: first the famous ethnographer Tipinov Arsen, a professor of philological sciences and promoter of Circassian culture, accused of paganism by the extremists, then the Mufti Anas Pshikhachev, killed Dec. 15, 'guilty' of having fought "against Islam."