Beyond Chechnya, Battle of Reformers, Radicals Grips North Caucasus

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A fierce ideological battle that appears to favor a radical Islamic constituency may hold the key to the future of a little-known but restive region in south Russia. The religious topography of the North Caucasus can no longer be reduced to a simple theological contest between Sufi traditionalists and Islamists. Increasingly, ideological schisms are emerging within the Islamist constituency itself, which Moscow rather ambiguously labels the “Wahhabi” community. The infighting revolves around differences in thinking between moderate reformers and radicals, a rivalry that, while long-prevalent in nearby Chechnya, has now become especially apparent in the republic of Kabardino-Balkaria, another patch […]

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