North Ossetia: “The relationship between Muslim communities and the authorities have suddenly become very tense”

“The Role of Islam in North Ossetia,” from Turkish Weekly, with thanks to Skeetstreet:

Once the most stabile [sic] republic(s) of the North Caucasus, North Ossetia is increasingly turning into a region of conflict. Demands for the resignation of North Ossetian President Alexander Dzasokhov, heard practically everywhere in the immediate aftermath of the Beslan tragedy, are not the only threat to stability there. The relationship between Muslim communities and the authorities have suddenly become very tense as well.

Newspaper reports indicate that at least one of the militants who participated in the school seizure in Beslan was an ethnic Ossetian named Vladimir Khodov. A resident of the Ossetian village of Elkhotovo, Khodov joined a group of Chechen militants after graduating from a local madrasa, and at one point served as a cook in the detachment of Ruslan Gelaev. While there is substantial evidence that suggests that other members of Ossetia’s Muslim communities have also joined the ranks of Chechnya’s resistance, very little known about the Muslims of North Ossetia beyond the borders of the republic.

While the majority of Ossetians are Christian, according to official estimates, 15-30 percent of the population is Muslim. The Ossetian capital of Vladikavkaz houses the central mosque, built in the beginning of the 20th century. Money for the construction of the mosque came from Azeri oil magnate Murtuza Mukhtarov, who married an Ossetian woman named Tuganova. (The mosque was built in the Egyptian style and has no architectural analogies in the North Caucasus.) But it was only after the collapse of the Soviet Union that a massive religious revival occurred. Islam began to be practiced more openly, with many Muslims adopting so-called Wahhabism, which is what fundamentalism is referred to in the North Caucasus.

The Russians tend to call any form of political or violent Islam “Wahhabism.” The Saudis may indeed be there, but the fact must be faced that even if they are, it isn’t just oil money that helps them win over new adherents: it is a coherent, convincing exegesis of Qur’anic Islam.

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  1. says

    It is frustrating to repeat the same message: all Muslims read the same Koran and adhere to the same principles that can, at moment’s notice, become extremist. A Muslim religious revivial will always be dangerous for the area’s for non-Muslims or those living in areas coveted by the zealous, now interested in Jihad or Da’wa.

  2. says

    Repetition is sometimes necessary to make the message sink in. In educating the public about the dangers of Islam “repetition” is a tool used to generalize the idea. Many of the walls of lies protecting Islam, are couched in ideologicalisms, that can only be penetrated by people who have the time and energy for indepth study, such as Mr Spenser and others. For example, who besides these people could examine the Arabic written script and its diacritical dots, and apply it to Quran? Certainly not I. But I can understand what they write about these subjects. For nearly everything I know about Islam, I owe to the work of these people and the technique of repetition…lest I forget. So while I understand the boring nature of repetiton and that is often preaching to the choir, I need it and appriciate it…often there is something new in the mix that makes the whole thing wothwhile…Cheers Swami…

  3. says

    Islam is proof of the old saying:


    Russia and Europe have a lot of failed answers (fascism, communism, nazi-ism), or weak half-answers (socialism with a human face, paganism, fun-loving cults like the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh’s, and all the junior versions of Eastern mysticisms, plus UFO-tinged offshoots), while Islam is militant, simple, deadly sure of its dogmas, and willing to die (to gain a Paradise of lubricated ectoplasmic virgins) with the cheers of their community to spur them on.

    The counterweight is needed. Not in a religious reverse image of some fundamentalism from the Bible, but more like the cultural and spiritual and artistic love of life and freedom shown by someone like Oriana Fallaci who put it well when she wrote:

    “I am saying that… [in the West] there is no room for the muezzin, for the minarets, for the false abstainers [Muslims who drink and whore and enjoy liberties that the Koran forbids], for their f***ing Middle Ages, for their f***ing chador. And even if there were, I would not give it to them. Because it would be the same as throwing away Dante… Leonardo… Michelangelo… The Renaissance… the freedom that, for better or worse, we have achieved… it would mean giving …our land… to them, gift-wrapped. This I will not do.”

    That needs to be the motto of the West:


    Read it all at-