Thursday, October 3, 2019

Fate of Ingush Muftiate Far from Clear

Paul Goble

            Staunton, October 1 --  The court-ordered liquidation of the Spiritual Center of Muslims of Ingushetia is far from a done deal, with some Muslims saying it should just continue to operates without state sanction and others arguing that such institutions have no basis in Islam and this one should simply be allowed to fade from the scene.

            But the MSDs of which this is one were created by the state precisely to bring a certain amount of order in the highly decentralized Muslim community and to allow the powers that be to exert control. Consequently, experts say, it is unlikely Ingushetia wanted an outright ban – Moscow probably did – and it is almost certain that republic authorities will create a new MSD in its place (

            That is certainly the view of Ruslan Mutsolgov, the Yabloko party leader in the republic, who says “the muftiate is a system which Ingush society worked out over the years with the help of the state. Namely the state thought up this system; believing Muslims do not need it … The liquidation of the muftiate was inspired exclusively by the federal center, not official Magas.”

             He suggests that “in place of the liquidated MSD another muftiate will be established in Ingushetia” and that “possibly with the help of this new structure, the federal Center will try to influence the attitudes of the Muslims of the republic. But it won’t succeed. The authorities will only who by this that they are violating the constitution and federal law.”

            Faced with a rising tide of protests from within Ingushetia and outside, a Nazran court has agreed to allow Zarifa Sautiyeva, the Ingush archivist and activist whose detention has just been extended by three months to appeal on video at the hearing where her attorneys will appeal that decision ( and

            In another decision that may reflect a certain softening by officials, a Magas court has dropped charges of inciting interethnic hatred at a March 2016 demonstration that had been levied against the vice president of Mekhka Kkhel Saradzhin Sultygov  (

But two developments outside the republic may matter even more: On the one hand, the Russian Supreme Court will hear a Daghestani appeal about the Daghestani-Chechen border dispute on December 11, an event that will undoubtedly raise hopes in Ingushetia that that court  might revisit its decision on the Chechen-Ingush border (

And on the other, the Caucasus Post reports, many travelers, including some from Ingushetia are now routinely ignoring police and military checkpoints on the roads of the region, ignoring calls by the authorities to stop, show documents and allow for vehicle inspections (

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