Dagestan, another deadly attack on Muslim religious authorities
by Nina Achmatova
Sheikh al Chirkavi, one of the most influential personalities of the Sufi community, was killed in a suicide bombing along with six other religious. Experts say it is an attack on all of official Islam in Russia.

Moscow (AsiaNews) - The Russian republic of Dagestan has declared August 29 a day of mourning for seven Muslim clerics killed yesterday in a suicide bombing in the village of Chirkey. One of the spiritual leaders of the local Sufi community, Sheikh Said Afandi al Chirkavi, and six other collaborators died in the suicide attack, carried out by a woman. The President of Dagestan, Magomedsalam Magomedov, has expressed his condolences to family and friends of the victims and declared a day of national mourning.

According to investigators, the kamikaze - wearing a belt packed with explosives - passing as a faithful, entered the Sheikh's house where she detonated her bomb. The Interior Ministry has already identified the woman as Aminat Kurbanov, a resident of Makhachkala, capital of Dagestan.

Al Chirkavi was a well known figures in the diverse Caucasian reality, consumed by infighting between the increasingly powerful Salafis and Sufis, associated with their mystical tradition, represented by the Sheikh who was highly respected by the people.

After the so-called "pacification" of Chechnya, Dagestan has become the most unstable among the republics of the Russian Caucasus, where Moscow continues to battle Islamist rebels fighting for the creation of an emirate. In recent years, a bombing campaign has been launched against religious officials, in response to their explicit criticism of a more radical Islam, denounced in local mosques, at the request of the Kremlin, to discourage separatists.

According to Grigory Shvedov, editor of the website "Caucasian Knot", the attack on al Chirkavi, "who had followers among state officials and local businessman," is a direct warning "to all Islam supported by the state". Alexei Malashenko, an expert on Islam for the Moscow Carnegie Centre, says the future of dialogue initiated with difficulty "between traditional Islam and the moderate wing of the Salafi" is now at stake. "For now - said the expert talking to the site Gazeta ru - a peaceful development of this dialogue appears impossible."