At a special meeting of Ingushetia’s Muslim Spiritual Directorate (MSD), a body Yevkurov has tried to disband, the mufti said that Yevkurov’s “incorrect activities have not been limited only to the territorial issue,” an implicit suggestion that Khamkhoyev was using this event to reaffirm his opposition to the republic leader.
“Yevkurov’s decision to transfer land is a violation of the Constitution of Ingushetia and of Russian laws,” Malsat Uzhakhov, head of the republic’s Council of Taips, said in support of the mufti’s words. As such, it is “a step toward the destruction of our republic.”
According to Artur Priymak, an NG-Religii commentator, “the Muslims of Ingusheetia consider that the indivisibility of the borders where Chechens and Ingush live were established already in the 19th century by the Vaynakh Sufi sheikh Kunta Kishiyev.”
The mufti’s intervention, the support he has received from a Taip leader, and notion about borders Priymak has introduced in his Moscow newspaper all are going to make the situation in Ingushetia and elsewhere more explosive because they reinforce the view that the Kremlin and Kadyrov are violating not just the Russian constitution but the principles of Islam.
And such an investment of religious meaning in what has up to now been viewed as a purely ethnic conflict not only broadens the issue far beyond just Ingushetia and Chechnya but also makes the resolution of any dispute far more difficult and the response to any imposed change far more likely to be violent.
Consequently, the mufti’s statement, which some may view only as a product of his own dispute with Yevkurov, is in fact about far larger equities and may make it far more difficult for Moscow to move toward the amalgamation of regions and republics, especially those with sizeable Muslim populations.