(Its a another sad day again when Islam is used for political gain)
Kremlin backs Islamic strategyhttp://www.thestar.com/article/594796#Comments
TheStar.com - World - Kremlin backs Islamic strategy
March 01, 2009
GROZNY, Russia – The bullnecked president of Chechnya emerged from afternoon prayers at the mosque and with chilling composure explained why seven young women who had been shot in the head deserved to die.
Ramzan Kadyrov said the women, whose bodies were found dumped by the roadside, had "loose morals" and were rightfully shot by male relatives in honour killings.
"If a woman runs around and if a man runs around with her, both of them are killed," Kadyrov told journalists in the capital of this volatile Russian region.
The 32-year-old former militia leader is carrying out a campaign to strengthen the traditional customs of predominantly Muslim Chechnya in an effort to blunt the appeal of hard-line Islamic separatists and shore up his power.
In doing so, critics say, he is setting up a dictatorship where Russian laws do not apply.
Some in Russia say Kadyrov's attempt to create an Islamic society violates the Russian constitution, which guarantees equal rights for women and a separation of church and state. But the Kremlin has given him its staunch backing, seeing him as the key to keeping the separatists in check.
"Kadyrov willfully tries to increase the influence of local customs over the life of the republic because this makes him the absolute ruler of the republic," said Yulia Latynina, a political analyst in Moscow.
Kadyrov's bluster shows how confident he is of his position.
"No one can tell us not to be Muslims," he said outside the mosque. "If anyone says I cannot be a Muslim, he is my enemy."
Few dare to challenge Kadyrov's rule in this southern region of more than a million people, which is only now emerging from the devastation of two wars in the past 15 years. The fighting between Islamic separatists and Russian troops, compounded by atrocities on both sides, claimed tens of thousands of lives and terrorized civilians.
Kadyrov describes women as the property of their husbands and says their main role is to bear children. He encourages men to take more than one wife, although polygamy is illegal in Russia.
Women and girls are now required to wear headscarves in all schools, universities and government offices.
Most women now wear headscarves in public, though the scarves rarely fully cover their hair and in some cases are little more than colorful silk headbands. Women who go out without a headscarf tend to tuck one into their bag for use where headscarves are required.
Many people suspect Kadyrov is branding the seven late November slayings honour killings to advance his political agenda. He said the women were planning to go abroad to work as prostitutes, but their relatives found out about it and killed them.
Few Chechens believe that.
"If women are killed according to tradition, then it is done very secretly to prevent too many people from finding out that someone in the family behaved incorrectly," said Natalya Estemirova, a prominent human rights activist in Grozny.
Estemirova said two of the women were married, with two children each. Their husbands held large funerals and buried them in the family plot, which would not have happened if the women had disgraced their families, she said.
Kadyrov's version also has been contradicted by federal prosecutors in Moscow, who have concluded relatives were not involved.
No arrests have been made and the investigation is continuing. Kadyrov's office refused to comment on the investigators' conclusion.
Moscow's Novaya Gazeta newspaper eported that some of the women worked in brothels frequented by Kadyrov's men. Many Chechens say they suspect the women were killed in a police operation.
The truth of the killings may never be known, given how much Kadyrov is feared.
Rights activists fear that Kadyrov's approval of honour killings may encourage men to carry them out. Honour killings are considered part of Chechen tradition.
No records are kept, but human rights activists estimate dozens of women are killed every year.
"What the president says is law," said Gistam Sakaeva, a Chechen activist who works to defend women's rights. "Because the president said this, many will try to gain his favour by killing someone, even if there is no reason."
Read some of the comments:
It is naiive to blame it on Islam
Honor killings are a relic of harshly patriarchal cultures. Such killings also occur in christian Italian & Greek villages but our media only covers when done in an Islamic country.
Submitted by AGreen at 11:04 AM Sunday, March 01 2009
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Russian double standards
After Russia suppressed Chechnya is an extremely brutal military campaign where thousands of civilians died, they installed a puppet leader that dances to their tunes. Honour killings are not Islamic as many people tend to believe but rather a part of ancient tribal traditions. Similar killings take place in rural India (Sikh/Hindu) and in remote villages of "macho" south America and other parts of the world. No matter who does it, or what deity one believes in, it is murder!
Submitted by ronin at 10:19 AM Sunday, March 01 2009
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Honour killings are not part of Islam!
"Honour killings are considered part of Chechen tradition" not Islamic tranditions - if that were the case, then the lady in the picture would be in trouble for dancing in public with a stranger in front of all these men. Ramzan is bypassing the Russian and Islamic legal systems by not bringing the men who *Murdered* these women to justice and letting a judge decide their fate - not a politican. This is about politics using religion for personal gain - and not for the great good.
Submitted by Boss at 7:20 AM Sunday, March 01 2009
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DMITRY NIKIFOROV, NEWS TEAM/AP FILE PHOTO
Chechen men in Grozny gather around President Ramzan Kadyrov as he performs a folk dance with a partner dressed in traditional Chechnyan costume. Chechen leader supports honour killings, polygamy and other traditions that violate Russian law ... but could help keep Islamist separatists in check