Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 7 Issue: 17

The head of the Chechen separatists’ Chechen National Information Service, Movladi Udugov, has called for the “re-establishment” of Sharia law throughout the North Caucasus and said that this cannot take place until “Russian occupation forces” are driven out of the region. In an interview with Caucasus Times published on April 21, Udugov charged that Russian propaganda had led to a lack of Islamic enlightenment and a split among Muslims, some of whom, he said, are being led astray by promises of “democracy.”

“Today the North Caucasus and the Caucasus as a whole are in a state of colonial dependence on the Russian state,” Udugov told the website. “And it is precisely this colonial dependence which is the reason why people are split into certain clans and groups, and also into various religious sects, on which propaganda pins so-called ‘traditional Islam.’ In actual fact, real traditional Islam is the Islam of our Prophet Muhammad. It was He who laid down the tradition of Islam. The true essence of the ideology that the forces of Islamic rebirth are carrying today is that Sharia law should be re-established in the lands of the North Caucasian peoples.” Freedom and Sharia law are inseparable, Udugov said, stating elsewhere in the interview that Sharia “is a law established by God to which all are subordinate, Muslims and non-Muslims, rich and poor, leaders and ordinary people whatever their social position or political views.”

After criticizing the United States for trying to impose democracy in Iraq, Udugov stated: “The logic of those who adhere to so-called democracy is in fact illogical. They urge Muslims to give everyone the right to freely choose their way of life and worship and then impose their own laws of force of arms upon them. It is completely illogical to try to implant their own outlook on the world and their own ideology and at the same time deny others these same rights. Having turned the myth of so-called democracy into some kind of sacred cow and given it the attributes of religious reverence, democracy is denying the right of Islam to aspire to an alternative for mankind.”

Udugov said that the rebel Caucasus Front would soon hold a shura, or assembly, and that an emphasis would be placed on carrying out attacks not only in Caucasus, but “throughout Russia.”