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The Muslim spiritual leader killed in Dagestan

August 29, 2012, 11:30 UTC+3

Another seven people, including a 12-year-old teenager were killed together with the sheikh

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MOSCOW, August 29 (Itar-Tass) — On Tuesday, Sheikh Said Afandi al-Chirkavi, who was considered as the spiritual leader and had dozens of thousands of disciples (Murids) in Dagestan, was killed by the female suicide bomber in the republic. Another seven people, including a 12-year-old teenager were killed together with the sheikh. According to a version of the suicide bombing, the crime was seeking to disrupt the reconciliation between supporters of various Islamic movements that Said Afandi called for actively.

The bomb blast went off at about 17:00 Moscow time at the house of the most influential Dagestani sheikh, the Kommersant daily reported. According to preliminary reports, the suicide bomber was an elderly woman, who fastened the so-called Shahid belt under the clothes, broke in the house under the guise of a pilgrim and detonated the bomb. Said Afandi al-Chirkavi, who was to turn 75 years in October 2012, died instantaneously.

The most famous world ustaz (Muslim scholar) of the Nakbandi and Shchazali tariqahs Said Afandi al-Chirkavi was considered as a great personality by his numerous Murids, followers of the Sufism movement in Islam (it is also called “traditional Islam” in Dagestan in contrast to Salafism, which is earlier called Wahhabism). Not only ordinary Muslims, but also influential republican politicians went to Chirkey to receive vird (the task, which the Sheikh gives to his Murid) from him. The murder of such personality may entail the most unfavourable consequences for the republic, which has been shaking on the edge of the civil war recently, many analysts believe.

According to one of the main versions of the murder, the assassination of the Sheikh was seeking to foil the reconciliation that is taking shape between the supporters of the Muslim Spiritual Directorate and the Salafists, the Kommersant daily reported. Meanwhile, it is not ruled out that the masterminds of the terrorist act had one more goal that is to make thousands of disciples of the Sheikh take to arms. In any case the murder of the famous religious leader may deteriorate the situation in Dagestan, where the situation is far from peace.

Deputy chairman of the Muslim Spiritual Directorate in European Russia Farid Asadullin told the Novye Izvestia daily that the murder was caused by an acute stage of confrontation between supporters of various Islamic movements. This is primarily the Sufis and Salafists. Asadullin also does not rule out that there was “a foreign connection” in the murder, as Arab “forces, which are seeking to disintegrate the Caucasus from Russia and create a Caucasus emirate” were involved in the murder, though “it cannot be ruled out that that this was a provocative act staged by security services.” Chairman of the Russian Islamic Committee Geidar Jemal also believes that the murder of the sheikh may be a provocative act, which the law enforcement agencies staged.

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