Believers praying, Magas, October 7, 2018. Photo: REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

15 February 2019, 21:32

Islamic scholars point to growing Islamic leaders' influence in Ingushetia

Mass protests of residents of Ingushetia against the agreement on the border with Chechnya have demonstrated the significance of the religious factor in the region, the participants of the seminar on the history and modern state of Islam, held on February 13 at the Institute of Oriental Studies, have stated.

The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on September 26, Ramzan Kadyrov and Yunus-Bek Evkurov signed an agreement on fixing the Chechen-Ingush border. The agreement caused mass protests in Ingushetia.

The role of Muslim leaders in the region has always influenced the social and political situation, said Makka Albogachieva, a senior researcher at the Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography. "If the Ingush society supports the clergy, then it is the Ingush people, while all the rest are people appointed from above. Therefore, the role of spiritual leaders is very large, and occupies the most important place in the life of the Ingush people and in solving conflicts," said the researcher.

The religious factor was present in protests; and the authority of religious leaders increased after them, says Akhmet Yarlykapov, a senior researcher at the Centre for Problems of the Caucasus and Regional Security of the MGIMO (Moscow State Institute of Foreign Relations). "There is a religious factor [in protests], if you follow the head of the SAM (Spiritual Administration of Muslims, – note of the "Caucasian Knot"). Someone expected him to be neutral; he had good relations with Kadyrov, but he took a very clear position against the border agreement. And this, of course, has influenced his popularity," the expert told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent.

The level of trust in public and religious figures was also high in the region before the 2018 protest activities related to the territorial disagreements with Chechnya, said Vadim Mukhanov, a senior researcher at the Centre for the Study of the Caucasus of the MGIMO. "Even before these events, Ingushes stressed that they would sooner trust certain leaders than the republic's authorities. This trend is still alive, and recent events have confirmed it," he said.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on February 15, 2019 at 04:27 pm MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

Author: Magomed Tuayev; Source: CK correspondent

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