Sunday 7 February 2010
Vladikavkaz — A SIM-card containing appeals for Jihad and photographs of illegal armed unit leaders Doku Umarov and Shamil Basayev (deceased) was seized from imam Jimmy Tanduyev in a maximum-security penitentiary in North Ossetia.
«The imam will spend three months in solitary confinement. He has committed similar violations before», head of the personnel department of the North Ossetian division of the Federal Service for Prisons and Penitentiaries Nevedya Byarzov told Interfax on Monday.
The correctional institution has not changed Tanduyev, he said. Instead, he has been in solitary confinement several times, from ten to thirty days. «We keep seizing illegal items from him», Byarzov said.
The police asked the North Ossetian Muslim board to appoint another imam of the penitentiary, which has about 50 Islamic inmates.
Tanduyev, who was sentenced to 16 years in custody, became the penitentiary imam in February 2009. The penitentiary mosque was built a month earlier.
Tanduyev was the Muslim board’s nominee, Byarzov said.
Islam in North Ossetia-Alania
Islam is currently the second most widely professed religion in the North Ossetia-Alania. While the majority of Ossetians are Christian, according to official estimates, 15% of the population is Muslim.
The Digor in the west came under Kabard and Islamic influence. It was through the Kabardians (an East Circassian tribe) that Islam was introduced into North Ossetia-Alania in the 17th century.
Today, the Ossetian capital of Vladikavkaz houses the central mosque, built in the beginning of the 20th century. Money for the construction of the mosque was donated by Azeri businessmen. The mosque was built in the Egyptian style and has no architectural analogies in the North Caucasus. But it was only after the collapse of the Soviet Union that a massive religious revival occurred, Islam began to be practiced more openly, with many Muslims adopting Wahhabism financed by Saudi Arabia and backed by Anglo-Americans.