Dagestan almost fully under Wahabi influence – expert

Moscow, August 29, 2012 -Interfax – The authorities have the last chance to change the situation in Dagestan and save the republic from the influence of radical Islam, said Roman Silantyev, a well-known expert on Islam.

"Apparently, terrorists believe that by killing Said of Chirkei, they made a trial shot in the head of the traditional Islam. Indeed, the war for Dagestan is virtually lost," Silantyev told Interfax-Religion on Wednesday.

Now the authorities have the last chance to change the situation and rescue the few surviving spiritual leaders of Dagestan, primarily, mufti Ahmad Abdullayev and his wife, he said.

"The treacherous practice of negotiating with terrorists should be stopped. A total war must be launched against them, with a particular emphasis on elimination of their abettors. Otherwise, Russia will become a second Iraq," the expert said.

The past few months were the most difficult period in the contemporary history for Russia’s traditional Muslims, he said. "The killing of Valiulla Yakupov and Said of Chirkei, the country’s two leading theologians who opposed the ideology of Salafism-Wahhabism, was the biggest but not only blow to the country’s largest Muslim organizations, the Kazan Muslim Board and the Coordination Center of Muslims of North Caucasus. The All-Russian Muslim Board sustained heavy losses earlier as well," Silantyev said.

The death of Said of Chirkei is the result of policies by officials who "instead of eliminating terrorists preventively set up a whole host of pointless commissions for their adaptation and lobbied the legalization of Salafism in Dagestan," the expert said. "These people should be tried for treason," he said.

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