Village of Anzorei in Kabardino-Balkaria. Photo by Lyudmila Maratova for the Caucasian Knot

26 December 2020, 08:57

"Sharia patrols" case arose amid conflict of secular vs. religious norms in Caucasus

They often try to impose religious norms on believers in the Caucasus, the experts interviewed by the "Caucasian Knot" in connection with the case of the so-called "Sharia patrols" in the village of Anzorei.

The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that in late October, the court ruled to place residents of the Leskensky District, aged 24-43, into custody; according to the police, they were members of an extremist community and used force against those who did not share their views. Relatives of those accused, as well as other Anzorei villagers, interviewed by the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent, said they knew nothing about any Sharia patrols.

The Caucasus is indeed facing cases of pressure from religious groups that seek to control people's behaviour, said Ruslan Kurbanov, a journalist and Islamic scholar.

He has emphasized that "the secular state does not accept the assumption of legalized and legitimate functions of the use of violence, coercion by anyone, by any group or force, except for the state itself."

The desire to live in line with religious norms and local customs often conflicts with the law. "For example, has a father any right to use force against his children and younger relatives? Has the youth any right to unite in groups in order to monitor the moral nature of their peers or older people? Unfortunately, very often in the Caucasus, as we see in Dagestan, Ingushetia and Kabardino-Balkaria, young people fail to notice thin boundaries, cross them and thereby violate the law, either explicitly or implicitly," Mr Kurbanov has concluded.

Oleg Orlov, a member of the Human Rights Centre (HRC) "Memorial", has compared the idea of Sharia patrols with awarding the revived Cossack movement in Russia with power functions. "I don't know the details of the case; but I'm not sure that it was fabricated. We've probably faced a trend. And, in my opinion, such a trend is dangerous and unacceptable – no Islamic patrols, no Cossack patrols. I don't understand why an Islamic patrol is better than a Cossack one, when people who call themselves Cossacks walk around with whips and put things in order that they consider a proper one," Mr Orlov, a rights defender, told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on December 25, 2020 at 08:26 pm MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

Author: Rustam Djalilov; Source: CK correspondent

All news

January 18, 2021 23:33

  • Azerbaijani MoD reports names of 2855 deceased soldiers

    According to the list of the deceased soldiers and officers released by the Azerbaijani Ministry of Defence (MoD), 2855 military men killed during the combat actions for Nagorno-Karabakh in the autumn of 2020 were buried. Other fifty military personnel are declared to be missed in action.

January 18, 2021 23:18

  • Court arrests Alexei Navalny

    Today, the Khimki City Court has arrested oppositionist Alexei Navalny until February 15, his press secretary and advocate report.

January 18, 2021 22:44

January 18, 2021 18:23

January 18, 2021 18:05

  • Almost 190 refugees return to Nagorno-Karabakh over 24 hours

    More 189 refugees arrived in Stepanakert from Yerevan, being accompanied by Russian peacekeepers. In total, 49,827 people returned to their homes after the end of the combat actions in Nagorno-Karabakh, the Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) reported.

News archive