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All Ingush Would Come into the Streets at the Mufti’s Call, Sufi Says

Paul Goble

Staunton,November 6 – One of the aspects of the Ingush protest against the border accordbetween Yunus-Bek Yevkurov and Ramzan Kadyrov has been the role of religiousleaders in organizing the population to oppose the deal, with some insisting ithas been very large while others say it is minimal compared to the ethnicdimension.

YusupDolgiyev, a Sufi adept from Nazran who was one of the organizers of the Magasdemonstrations in October, says that religion and nationality are reinforcingas are the various schools and trends in Islam.Trying to unpack them or play one group against another will becounter-productive (

Yevkurov’s relations with themufti,, Isa Khamkhoyev, have not been good; and last summer, Yevkurov sought toremovehim. “I told the mufti at thetime: ‘Isa, just say the word, and the people will follow you.’ The muftiresponded: ‘If we get dragged into politics, this will bring us little ofvalue.”

“The mufti, if he wanted, couldeasily have led the protests, but he doesn’t want to have any relations with Yevkurovor his policy,” Dolgiyev continues. “The mufti and the Council of Alims fulfillanother role and look at this world in their own way.”Yevkurov doesn’t understand this orunderstand Islam.

As to the current dispute over theborder, the Sufi adept says, “the best decision according to shariat law is acompromise which would satisfy all. He who does not seek compromise is unwiseand lives not according to shariat.” Intelligent Chechens and Uzbeks would finda way.

“We have a mass of issues withKadyrov,” Dolgiyev says.“But anyone whoinsults the Chechen people, insults us as well. I said this at the meting in Magaswhen god heads having listened to pseudo-historical tales began to shout thatonly the Ingush were genuine Vaynakhs.” That is nonsense.

But it is true that “if RamzanKadyrov lived according to shariat, he would seek compromise. And Yevkurovcould seek compromise with the people rather than running off to the Ingush inMoscow with complaints.”

Ingush are united as a nation and byfaith. Evidence of that was provided during the protests. On October 5, 60,000Ingush came together to pray. A week later, that number had risen to 108,000,many of them Ingush OMON and siloviki.Using divide-and-rule tactics simply isn’t going to work.

“I do not think,” Dolgiyev continues,“that our people is so naïve that it is divided into two parts as a result ofthe conflict of Yevkurov and Khamkhoyev.” The two men need to talk with each other,with the elders, and with the Ingush people. Then everyone would be able to seewho is in the right and who is not.

Khamkhoyev was elected by the peopleand if he is in the wrong, the people will seek his removal, Dolgiyev says. “Butwe didn’t choose Yevkurov. He was assigned from Moscow. From the very first dayof his time in the republic, we were dissatisfied with him … I prayed for himbecause he is our brother” but we found out what kind of “a brother he reallyis.”

“I am 64,” Dolgiyev says. “I’m froman officer’s family. I served in the fleet and am a non-ethnic Russia in allrespects. The name of my ancestor, an officer of the tsarist army is incised inmarble on the Shipkin mount in Bulgaria. The Dolgiyevs fought for Russian inWorld War I, in the Civil War against Denikin, and in the Great Fatherland War.”

“The Ingush people will follow theleaders” it chooses to the end. If he tells us to fight, we will fight; if hetells us to till the soil, we will do that. But the leader ofthe Ingush people must listen to our elders.”Yevkurov isn’t doing that; and so he no longer can claim to be the leader ofthe Ingush nation.

Dolgiyev’s remarks are just oneindication that the dispute between Ingushetia and Chechnya over the borderbetween them isn’t going to go away even if there is a court decision inMoscow. This has become a political issue and one that has ramifications farbeyond the North Caucasus, analysts say. It will require a political decision (

Meanwhile today, Chechnya’s Kadyrov hascompounded the problem with an announcement that he plans to resettle Chechensin the area that Yevkurov has transferred from Ingushetia to Chechnya and todevelop the area as a tourist center, something many Ingush will be outraged by(

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