KARACHAEVO-CHERKESSIA, 31 January, Caucasus Times. Mufti is supposed to be elected during the 7th Congress of Muslims of Karachaevo-Cherkessia and Stavropol region scheduled for spring this year. On the threshold of the elections Muhammat Bidzhiev (Bidzhi-ulu), one of the organizers of extremist movement in Karachaevo-Cherkessia in late 1980-ties – early 1990-ties, developed his activities in the republic.
Evgenii Kratov, Representative of the President of Karachaevo-Cherkessia responsible for the relations with the religious organizations, told Caucasus Times that Bidzhiev managed to strengthen his position by getting the post of Deputy Mufti of Ecclesiastical Office of the Muslims of European Russia in the North Caucasus. In Kratov’s words, official position of a representative of one of the most influential Russian Muslim organizations gave Bidzhiev a wide range of possibilities of public activities.
In 1991 Bidzhi-ulu proclaimed himself a Mufti of Karachai and called for separation of Karachai from Cherkessia and creation a separate Karachai Republic. He was one of the organizers of numerous meetings in Karachaevsk in 1991 calling for separation of Karachaevo-Cherkessia. Responding to those claims, republican authorities arranged of a referendum where most people stood up for the preservation of the integrity of Karachaevo-Cherkessia.
In Evgenii Kratov’s opinion, there are certain indications that Bidzhiev can try to turn into reality his former plans, which he unsuccessfully tried to implement in early 1990-ties. “Key point of his plans is getting confidence of the population by conducting various educational activities and at the same time organizing forces opposing the official Muslim clergy and the authorities. Then he will make an attempt to get access to political and ecclesiastical power by resorting to an open confrontation”, – Kratov emphasized.
According to some leaders of Ecclesiastical Office of the Muslims of Karachaevo-Cherkessia and Stavropol region, Muhammat Bidzhiev was a representative of a foreign radical Isam in the republic.