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Deputy Muslim Leader of North Ossetia Shot and Killed

Published: August 18, 2014 (Issue # 1824)



  • The Mukhtarov Mosque stands on the left bank of the Terek River in Vladikavkaz, the capital of North Ossetia.
    Photo: Islamcenter.ru

The deputy mufti of Russia's Republic of North OssetiaAlania was shot dead Saturday in the latest in a string of assassinations of Muslim leaders in the North Caucasus this year.

Rasul Gamzatov, who served as the imam of a mosque in the regional capital Vladikavkaz, was shot at least seven times in the head and chest at the entrance of an apartment building in the city shortly before midnight, the Investigative Committee said Sunday.

The committee said in a statement that it would investigate different possible motives for the crime, including whether the murder could be linked to Gamzatov's professional activities.

Gamzatov's predecessor as deputy mufti of North Ossetia, Ibragim Dudarov, was also shot and killed by an identified assassin on the outskirts of Vladikavkaz in December 2012. The case remains unresolved.

The mufti of North Ossetia, Khadzhimurat Gatsalov, said Sunday that the murders of his two deputies were most likely connected.

"Why is the murder of the first imam not being investigated?" Interfax quoted Gatsalov as saying."Who benefits from killing devout Muslims? This was done by people who want to spread discord in our republic. We have no militants [here] and they do not come here from other places."

North Ossetia is less restive than other parts of the North Caucasus region such as Dagestan and Ingushetia, where attacks on police and officials by Islamic militants are a common occurrence. A total of 96 people were killed as a result of armed conflict in the North Caucasus in the second quarter of this year, according to Kavkazsky Uzel, a regional online news portal. None of these deaths were recorded in North Ossetia.

The president of North Ossetia, Taimuraz Mamsurov, said he thought Gamzatov's assassination could have religious motives.

"We will only be able to establish the motives for the crime when the criminals are apprehended and testify," Mamsurov said, according to Interfax. "This is either an attempt to destabilize the republic or to create artificial strife between our traditional religions Islam and Christianity which have coexisted in peace and harmony in the North Caucasus for centuries."

Gamzatov's murder was the fourth killing of a religious figure in the North Caucasus this year, bringing the total number of such killings in the region since 2009 to 39, according to Kavkazsky Uzel.

Many of those murders have been tied to their views on Islam, which extremists deem too moderate.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, Oct. 1


The St. Petersburg International Innovation Forum 2014 kicks off today at Lenexpo, where it will be presenting the latest and greatest ideas until Oct. 3. Focusing on economic development and the decisions and measures necessary to encourage development in Russias most important industries, the event is a possibility to discuss the innovations currently available in a variety of fields.


Representatives of the Russian and international media industries arrive in St. Petersburg for the first ever International Media Forum being hosted by the city until Oct. 10. With a variety of events on tap, including workshops, lectures and film screenings, the event plans to reemphasize the citys reputation as the countrys culture capital and as an emerging market and location for the visual arts.



Thursday, Oct. 2


The celebration of the bicentennial of the birth of Mikhail Lermontov continues with todays free exhibition in the citys Lermontov Library at 19 Liteiny Prospekt. Titled Under the Rustling Wings, the temporary exhibition will feature the costumes and scenery used in the 1917 production of Lermontovs play The Masquerade, which he wrote in 1835 when he was only 21 years old.



Friday, Oct. 3


Learn more about how to manage and evaluate employee performance during SPIBAs Human Resources Committee meeting this morning on Employee Assessment: Global and Local Trends. Starting at 9:30 a.m., the discussion will touch on such topics as the partnership between HR and business, reliable assessment strategies and more, with Tatiana Andrianova, the head of the SHL Russia and CIS branch in St. Petersburg, as the featured guest. Confirm your participation by Oct. 2 by emailing office@spiba.ru or calling 325 9091.


AmChams Procurement Committee Meeting is at 9 a.m. this morning in their office in the New St. Isaac Office Center on Ulitsa Yakubovicha.



Saturday, Oct. 4


Wine and cheese lovers will get their chance to revel during Scandinavia Country Club and Spas Wine Market Weekend. Going on today and tomorrow, wining diners can listen to live music, take part in culinary classes and, of course, sample a variety of fine wines from around the world. The cost of admission is 400 rubles ($10.30) for adults and 200 rubles ($5.15) for children.



Sunday, Oct. 5


Look for the latest fall fashions at the Autumn Market today in Freedom Anticafe at 7 Kazanskaya Ulitsa. The minimarket plans to offer clothes more flattering than the puffy jackets that are a staple of the citys cold-weather fashion, while offering the same amount of protection from the biting winds blowing off of the Baltic.



Monday, Oct. 6


SKA St. Petersburg, the citys KHL affiliate, welcomes Slovakian club HC Slovan in a match-up tonight at the Ice Palace near the Prospekt Bolshevikov metro station. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m. and tickets can be purchased on the clubs website or in person at either the arenas box office or the clubs merchandise store on Nevsky Prospekt.



Tuesday, Oct. 7


Learn more about Russias energy industry at the St. Petersburg Energy Forum that begins today and runs through Oct. 10. Attracting industry experts and political and business representatives, the forum plans to welcome more than 350 plus companies and their representatives to discuss the future of Russias largest economic sector.



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