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Thursday, 17 December 2009
Muslim revival brings polygamy, camels to Chechnya
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Reuters fails to show any recognition of the misery that polygamy and the others aspects of sharia brings to women but, give the agency its due, I think it is accurate on strict facts from which we can draw our own conclusions.
Adam, 52, keeps his three wives in different towns to stop them squabbling, but the white-bearded Chechen adds he might soon take a fourth.
"Chechnya is Muslim, so this is our right as men. They (the wives) spend time together, but do not always see eye to eye," said the soft-spoken pensioner, who only gave his first name.
Hardline Kremlin-backed leader Ramzan Kadyrov is vying with insurgents for authority in a land ravaged by two secessionist wars with Moscow. Each side is claiming Islam as its flag of legitimacy, each reviles the other as criminal and blasphemous.
Though polygamy is illegal in Russia, the southern Muslim region of Chechnya encourages the practice, arguing it is allowed by sharia law and the Koran, Islam's holiest book.
By Russian law, Adam is only married to his first wife of 28 years, Zoya, the plump, blue-eyed mother of his three children, with whom he shares a home on the outskirts of the regional capital Grozny.
His "marriages" to the other two -- squirreled away in villages nearby -- were carried out in elaborate celebrations and are recognized by Chechen authorities.
The head of Chechnya's Center for Spiritual-Moral Education, Vakha Khashkanov, set up by Kadyrov a year ago, said Islam should take priority over laws of the Russian constitution.
"If it is allowed in Islam, it is not up for discussion," he told Reuters near Europe's largest mosque, which glistens in central Grozny atop the grounds where the Communist party had its headquarters before the Soviet Union fell in 1991.
What is it with Islam and the size and importance of their Mosques? Each one larger than the next, or on the 'third holiest site in Islam'. It matters little to Christians, other than those interested in architecture and engineering as a separate discipline, that St Peters in Rome is s omany yards longer than St Pauls in London.  And is Walsingham the 'holiest site in England' or is that Canterbury, or St Albans? Its a matter of opinion and it doesn't actually matter!
Political analysts say that in exchange for successfully hunting out Islamist fighters, the Kremlin turns a blind eye to Kadyrov's Muslim-inspired rules.
Today Grozny's cafes hold men sipping smuggled beer out of teacups as alcohol has been all but banned, single-sex schools and gyms are becoming the norm and women must cover their heads in government buildings.
Clad in a tight hijab, Asya Malsagova, who advises Kadyrov on human rights issues and heads a state council dealing with the rights of Chechen prisoners, told Reuters: "We believe every woman should have a choice -- but we prefer she covers up."
Against the backdrop of a bubbling Islamist insurgency, Islam's revival has also brought violence against those who do not live by sharia law in the North Caucasus -- a region the Kremlin has described as its biggest political domestic problem.
Islamist militants, who label Kadyrov and other regional bosses as "infidels" for siding with Moscow, have been behind attacks on women they say worked as prostitutes in Dagestan and murders of alcohol-sellers in Ingushetia.
In Chechnya and Ingushetia, rebel fighters who regularly carry out armed attacks on police are celebrated as "martyrs" by Islamist news sites with links to the insurgency.
If you click here you can read about the Holy camels for dowry and other purposes (no tittering at the back) and how Islam is spread by dawa and teaching.
Asia One has more details on the violence and fear spread by the rival groups.
GROZNY: Bearded police in camouflage gear, carrying assault rifles and long daggers, stop cars with tinted windows in the rebuilt Chechen capital - their latest tactic in the hunt for Islamist fighters.
As one car pulls over, a policeman jerks open the back door, slides in and slashes the darktinted film off the car windows with his 25cm dagger. "Militants could be hiding behind these," he snarls.
These insurgents are back in the news after apparently ambushing a train in Russia, leaving 27 people dead. However, what many Chechens dread is the appearance of lawenforcement officers, whose black woollen hats bear the letters K. R. A., the President's initials.
Thousands of "Kadyrovtsy" are eager to prove that they are defeating the Islamic insurgency across the North Caucasus that aims to create an independent Muslim state. Many fought for independence from Moscow but, like Mr Kadyrov, switched sides.
Rights groups say they enforce decrees like a ban on alcohol and making women cover up in state buildings, regardless of their constitutionality.
Women complain that the militia taunt them for not wearing headscarves near state buildings such as airports or schools - which bear large smiling portraits of Mr Kadyrov and his father and predecessor, Mr Akhmad, who was killed in a bomb blast in 2004.
The black-booted police can "take us away for being against a law we don't even know is real or even exists", said one young man called Aslan.
Mr Kadyrov's spokesman, Mr Alvi Karimov, said rights groups were misinterpreting the situation and failed to appreciate that Chechnya has lived through two devastating wars.

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Posted on 12/17/2009 4:39 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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