Thursday, November 8, 2007

Azerbaijan's leaders fear spread of radical Islam, especially in military

by Fariz Ismailzade from The Jamestown Foundation (US)

Ilgar Ibrahimoglu a prominent Islam scholar and imam of the Juma mosque in Baku, told Day.az on October 29, that Wahhabism has been a problem at least since the beginning of this year. Ibrahimoglu believes that it is impossible to fight Wahhabism in the country by forceful administrative measures, such as arresting members of the sect and shaving their beards, which recently occurred in the Zagatali and Balakan regions of Azerbaijan, but rather the government should invest in massive educational and awareness campaigns ... Terror threats in Baku will be investigated more carefully in the future, with the help of special agents from the FBI and MI-6, but what remains the biggest, yet poorly understood, concern is the emergence of radical Islam within the army. Immediately after the incident with Lieutenant Asadov, APA news agency reported that 10 officers and cadets from the military academies in Baku had been arrested on charges related to Wahhabism When asked about the spread of Wahhabism, Orujev replied, “There is no worry about the massive spread of Wahhabism in the army, but just one fact already shows the trend”.

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