28 August 2012, 23:00

Sheikh Said Afandi assassinated in Dagestan

The cemetery of the village of Chirkey, Buinaksk District of Dagestan, is the venue of the funeral of Sheikh Said Afandi Chirkawi, who was killed today in an explosion triggered in his house. According to preliminary estimates, the number of people who gathered to say farewell to him, is about 150,000.

The explosion took place on August 28 in the house of Sheikh Said Afandi – the explosive device was triggered by a female-suicide bomber, who entered the Afandi's house, according to a source from law enforcement bodies, under the guise of a pilgrim. The blast killed eight people: Sheikh Afandi, 6 people who were in his vicinity, including a 12-year-old child, and the suicide bomber.

Said Afandi is an Avar national; he was born in 1937 and was the most authoritative Sheikh of the Shazili and Naqshbandi Tariqas. He mastered his Islamic knowledge by himself. It is believed that he has more than 10,000 murids, mainly among the Avars living in the Buinaksk, Kizilyurt, Khasavyurt, Shamil, Gergebil, Gumbet and Kazbek Districts. His followers and admirers include officials and entrepreneurs; starting mid-1990s, the entire leadership of the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Dagestan (know as DUMD) was among his followers.

In connection with the murder of the famous theologian Sheikh Said Afandi, President of Dagestan Magomedsalam Magomedov announced Wednesday, August 29, 2012, the day of mourning, the "Interfax" wrote.

The DUMD does not exclude that the murder of Said Afandi could be related with his fight against extremism.

"I believe that this terror act is directly related to his professional activities; although the investigation should find out the real motives. For me, everything is obvious. The Sheikh was known not only for his public statements condemning extremist trends, but also as one of the ideologists calling for cooperation of the state with religious organizations. Understandably, Wahhabis didn't like this position," the RIA "Novosti" quotes a representative of the DUMD.

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