What is the ideology of those who raided Nalchik? Why did the militants make an attack on Kabardino-Balkaria of all places? What measures should be taken to prevent such developments in the future? These and other questions were put by Alexey Sosedov of Interfax-Religion to Mufti Muhammedgali Khuzin, chairman of the Executive Committee of the Central Moslem Board in Russia.
- How would you describe the developments in Nalchik?
- We believe what happened in Nalchik was a Wahhabi mutiny. These people did not have to come from anywhere as there already were there. All these years they have intensively developed their activity not only in Kabardino-Balkaria, but throughout the North Caucasus and in many other regions in Russia. Unfortunately, it was a result of what we believe to be an erroneous policy whereby no reference has been made lately to the Wahhabis and only Hizb ut-Tahrir has been mentioned, while the ideology of Wahhabism was and is much worse for Russia.
Most likely, militants attacked Nalchik not for some current political purposes. It was a certain test of strength to see how much Russia has weakened, an attempt to detect the points in which to launch an onslaught on free Russia.
We think the response of the authorities was adequate to the challenge. The state and society should talk to the terrorists of this kind only in the language of force, by no means making any concessions to them. In this way the state will show them its strength and power, and they will find no weak points in it. I believe another important implication should lie in the need for the authorities and law enforcement to heed to the leaders of the traditional Islam in Russia who insist that Wahhabism is a real threat and that it has been actively cultivated in recent years.
- What you think were the plans of the militants?
- These are certainly attempts to tear the Caucasus away from Russia, though this ideology is rather problematic and unfeasible even from the point of view of its own initiators. Most probably, all these actions have been undertaken in anticipation of 2007-2008. Clearly, they are not coordinated within Russia as they are aimed to destabilize the situation in the country. It was an attempt to drag Russia into a conflict zone, to declare a zone of instability, a state that is incapable of effective government and posing a strong threat to the international community. Wahhabism is being used to develop such an approach. In the future its ideology may be used not only in the North Caucasus but also in inner Russia and in Siberia.
- Why did the extremists choose Kabardino-Balkaria as their target?
- This happened because last year the plans of the terrorists failed. When they captured the school in Beslan, they most likely planned to spread the hostilities to territories neighbouring on Chechnya. But no interreligious or inter-ethnic confrontation followed in North Ossetia. Despaired by the failure of their plans, they shifted them to Kabardino-Balkaria.
Incidentally, if you look at the summery for the last year, you will see the republic listed at the top of places where Wahhabi cells were active. We forecasted such a dramatic development of the situation. It hurts to see people giving their lives for the mistakes of analysts who should have predicted these developments.
- What measures you think should be taken in the future to prevent attempts to explode the situation in particular regions in Russia?
- All this demagogy launched by Islamic group leaders that Wahhabism is an official doctrine of Saudi Arabia should be nipped in the bud. All these fables should be stopped in Russia. These people should be put on trial for supporting terrorists by Wahhabi ideology. There is a fairly large community of Islamic researcher and religious scholars in our country. They should work out a conceptual attitude to Wahhabism in the form it is present in Russia.
In the final analysis, the interpretations of Wahhabism are all the same to us. What is important to us is the fact that Wahhabism is causing bloodshed in Russia. Therefore, we must work out legislative groundwork to resist it and act the way our law-enforcement bodies have acted in the past few years with regard to the banned Hizb ut-Tahrir party exposing its cells in Moscow, Nizhni Novgorod, Kazan, Tobolsk, Yekaterinburg and other cities. The Wahhabis should be detected cell by cell to make a breakthrough in the situation. Until we stop philosophizing, the tension will only grow.