Impossible to combat Islamism in Russia without restricting certain rights and liberties – expert

Moscow, August 31, 2012 – Interfax – Yana Amelina, head of the sector for Caucasus studies at the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, has suggested outlawing radical Islamists in response to the assassination of the Muslim spiritual leader in Dagestan Sheikh Said Atsayev.

"What happened in Dagestan clearly prompts the conclusion that effective resistance to radical Islam in all its manifestations is impossible without temporarily restricting certain constitutional rights and liberties through introducing a state of emergency or a counterterrorist operation (for only a certain time and in regions of the greatest Islamist threat, of course,)" she said to a correspondent of Interfax-Religion.

She said that a situation in which extremists do not recognize the legitimacy of the Russian state but actively benefit from its constitutional freedom of speech and assembly for their own purposes "is unacceptable and leads to the loss of the side that plays according to rules, in this case Russia."

Amelina reminded the correspondent that simultaneously with the murder of the Sheikh in Dagestan, another tragedy occurred: a border guard shot dead seven of his colleagues. The special services had signals about him, "three attempts were made to dismiss him from the border service, but there no sufficient formal reasons for that."

"The solution is clear- membership in a radical Islamist movement should be sufficient reason for dismissal without chances of reinstatement not only from law enforcement, but from any public service. Such a person should lose the right to hold positions in government or municipal bodies, law enforcement or defense, teach at day-care centers, schools or colleges and even less so work in the mass media," Amelina said.

She also called for fully excluding Islamists and their supporters from the Russian social, political and media environment noting that the elimination of the Islamist lobby in both the media and government institutions should be a pressing task along with armed cleansing.

"The tragedies in Tatarstan and Dagestan were not accidental escapades of individual terrorists but a point of no-return, part of a well-considered plan of forming a common Islamist front of supporters of jihad in the North Caucasus and along the Volga river. One should not have illusions that Islamists and the foreign forces standing behind them will be content with simple instability. Their ultimate objective is to destroy Russia. Knowing that they should be dealt with accordingly," the expert believes.

In her opinion, the murder of the Sheikh in Dagestan proves that a dialogue with radical Islamists leads to the physical destruction of followers of traditional Islam and to threat to national security.

"Any attempts to flirt with the radicals, all these senseless ‘dialogues’ and ‘commissions for the adaptation of militants’ justifiably regarded by the latter as a manifestation of the weakness of state institutions should be dropped from the agenda once and for all," Amelina said.

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