NORTH OSETIA, 9 March, Caucasus Times. Mufti of North Osetia Murat Khadzhi Tavkazakhov told CaucasusTimes correspondent that at present around 200 thousand Muslims reside in the territory of North Osetia.
In his words, at present there are more than twenty mosques functioning in the North Osetia and only one Sunni mosque is located in the North Osetian capital of Vladikavkaz.
“Earlier there also was one Shia mosque in the North Osetian capital. However, 25 years ago the building of this mosque was reconstructed and turned into planetarium. Place where Imam was saying his prayers was turned into a public convenience. Muslims take this as an insult”, – Murat Khadzhi Tavkazakhov is complaining.
In the meantime, he pointed out that there is no negative attitude towards Islam and Muslims in the North Osetia. “There are some negative feelings, but this is a result of the influence of mass media. Opinion that attitude towards Islam has changed for the worse in the North Osetia after Beslan tragedy is an obvious exaggeration”, – he said.
Mufti of North Osetia pointed out that leadership of North Osetia demonstrates some disposition to Ortodox Church, but, in his words, both Christianity and Islam are world religions and therefore both confessions should be treated without any encroachments. He also admitted that there are some radicals among Muslims in North Osetia, but, in his words, “we don’t have any connections with them”.
In Murat Khadzhi Tavkazakhov’s opinion, education is the best weapon in fight against extremism in Islam. “We have to enlighten our youth. During our last meeting with Presidnet Vladimir Putin we discussed the necessity to establish a number of religious educational institutions in the North Caucasus and in North Osetia. Vladimir Vladimirovich instructed to realize those projects”, – Murat Khadzhi Tavkazakhov indicated.
In conclusion, Mufti of North Osetia emphasized: “Many of our brothers live in poverty. Unfortunately, we do not have any possibilities to help them. We are in a very difficult situation, which is being even further complicated by the fact that leadership of the republic is not interested in supporting us”.