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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, Sept. 17


AmChams Investment and Legal Committee Meeting convenes this morning in their office in the New St. Isaac Office Center at 9 a.m.


Learn more about the science of teaching English at todays EFL Seminar hosted by the British Book Center. Revolving around the topic of learning styles, the workshop will help attendees better understand the different effective learning methods that can be implemented to learn English more effectively.



Thursday, Sept. 18


Get your nerd on at Boomfest, St. Petersburgs answer to the United States popular ComicCon. Starting today, this international festival of comics will take over venues throughout the city center and includes exhibitions of comics and illustrations, film screenings, competitions and the chance to meet the genres authors, artists and experts.



Friday, Sept. 19


SPIBAs newest addition to their Cultural Discoveries events is Handmade in Germany, an exhibition featuring unique handmade objects of a significantly higher quality than mass-produced items. The work of over 100 German manufacturers will be displayed during the event, which opens today in the Lutheran Church of Saint Peter and Paul on Nevsky Prospekt and runs through Sept. 28.



Saturday, Sept. 20


Starting on Sept. 18 and ending tomorrow is the Extreme Fantasy Wakeboarding Festival in Sunpark by Sredny Suzdalskoye lake in the Ozerki region of the city.


Those after something more laid back can instead head to Jazz and Wine night at TerraVino with legendary jazz guitarist Ildar Kazahanov. 12/14 Admiralteyskaya Emb.



Sunday, Sept. 21


Learn more about African culture and get some exercise during todays Djembe and Vuvuzela, a bike ride starting in Palace Square that includes several stops where riders can listen to the music of Africa or watch short films about the continent. The riders plan to set off at 4 p.m. and all you need to join is a set of wheels.



Monday, Sept. 22


Do you love puppetry? If so, then be sure to go to BTK-Fest, a five-day festival that starts on Sept. 19 celebrating the art. Contemporaries from France, Belgium, the U.K. and other countries will join Russian artists to put on theatrical performances involving a variety of themes, materials and eras. Workshops and meetings are also scheduled for a chance to discuss the artistic medium in further depth.



Tuesday, Sept. 23


Marina Suhih, Director of the External Communications Department at Rostelecom North-West, and Yana Donskaya, HR Director for Northern Capital Gateway are just some of the confirmed participants of todays round table discussion on Interaction with Trade Unions being hosted by SPIBA. Confirm your attendance with SPIBA by Sept. 22.


Kino Expo 2014, an international film industry convention, will be at LenExpo from today until Sept. 26. The third largest exhibition of film equipment in the world, the expo focuses on not only Russia but former Soviet republics as well.



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