Peaceful religion watch: Wahhabi and non-Wahhabi Muslims discuss their differences in Dagestan. From the Baku Sun, with thanks to Nicolei:
A dispute that began over whether ancient pre-Islamic rituals can be included in prayer ceremonies has thrown the Caucasus” oldest city into religious chaos.
Hundreds of followers of two rival Muslim groups clashed over the weekend Derband, Dagestan, in what observers there said was ultimately a battle for control over the 7th-century Juma Mosque, one of the first in the region.
More than 20 people have been injured in a large-scale fight that took place after Saturday namaz (Mohammedan prayer) and lasted for an hour and a half, between traditionalists and members of the Wahhabite community, according to the Dagestani Interior Ministry.
Local ANS TV reported (from Derbend) that approximately 200 Wahhabites stormed in to the basilica-shaped Juma Mosque, Derbend’s largest place of worship, and tried to force the traditional Sunni prayers out. Meanwhile, the republic’s Interior Ministry press service told Interfax that approximately 300 supporters of the Wahhabite community seized the Juma Mosque. On the way there, they attacked passers-by.
The mosque was closed for several hours.
Afterwards, Russian TV footage from the mosque showed axes and bricks on the mosque floor.
Police detained 200 people, mostly Wahhabites, involved in the fight, in which 24 people, including four police officers, were hospitalized with knife wounds and other injuries.