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Sunday, 23 October 2016


Wahhabites making war preparations in Pankisi

2010-07-26 16:49

6446.jpegGeorgia's Pankisi gorge is now a site of clashes between traditional Muslims and Wahhabites. Two old chapels have been destroyed in Kistin villages with radical Chechens constructing new mosques. Georgian experts who mocked at Russia's fears over militants in Pankisi not long ago are worried by the risk that Georgia might lose control in the gorge. These apprehensions are not at all rootless: Georgia is standing on the threshold of the war between two Muslim movements, Alexander Ignatenko, president of Russian Institute of Religion and Politics thinks.


Clashes between Wahhabites and traditional Islamites are becoming a routine in Pankisi gorge of Georgia inhabited by Kistins, kin-related to Chechens. This place has been notorious since early 2000s when Chechen militants pressed down by the Russian troops were crawling along mountain routes of Big Caucasus to their relatives in Georgia.

Moscow periodically states that North Caucasian terrorists are staying and getting trained there. Tbilisi considers these statements are provocations. However now that radical Islamites in Pankisi have launched an open confrontation with local residents, even Georgian experts get concerned over the ideological atmosphere in the region.

Recently the Wahhabites demolished a traditional mosque in Birkiani village to build their own one. Part of the locals protested which eventually brought about a fight. Not long ago a similar story took place in Jokolo village http://

In an interview with Kviris Palitra newspaper Mamuka Areshidze, an expert for Caucasian issues, called it "a small religious confrontation" adding that only elderly people in Pankisi profess traditional Islam: they have neither strength, nor means to oppose promulgation of the Wahhabite ideology whose supporters are financially sponsored from abroad and make money on timber trade.

According to the expert, Kistin Wahhabites don't want to integrate into Georgian society: they refuse to learn the Georgian language. From the 10th grade they go abroad to continue studies in the Arab language. On return they solve "specific religious and political issues".

Pankisi gorge is becoming as explosive for Georgia as North Caucasus republics are for Russia. It won't take much to turn this small confrontation into a real war, Alexander Ignatenko, president of Russian Institute of Religion and Politics thinks.

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