Author`s name Petr Ernilin

Chechen Mufti Akhmad Khadzhi Shamayev: Chechens Should Unite

KadyrovThe elections in Chechnya have brought real power to the republic to uphold the interests of the Chechen people. Up till now, there was no real power in Chechnya. As the Chechen Mufti, I declare that the elections in Chechnya were legitimate. Now we must tackle the main task of uniting the Chechen people.

It is not surprising that the turnout at the elections was high. It is customary for Chechens to obey the will of the elders, respected members of society. Every family or clan head had explained the need to participate in the elections to his relatives. Therefore, people came to polling stations and made their choice.

During the run-up, Chechens carefully assessed the presidential candidates. It is possible that if some of the candidacies had not been withdrawn, they would have won some of the votes. Those men who pulled out of the presidential race were respected people in Chechnya, respected for the assistance they give to the Chechen people. But the majority of Chechens, as well as the candidates, realise how difficult the current situation is, and only few can rectify it and assume the responsibility for the fate of Chechnya. These elections are not the last ones, and those who failed to win the race today will get their chance again. In my opinion, at the moment Akhmad Kadyrov alone can find a practical solution. The Chechen people demonstrated now they viewed Kadyrov with their votes.

It is important for Chechnya's Muslims that a mufti has become president of the republic. Kadyrov's previous post is of essential importance for us as well. Moreover, the elections in Chechnya demonstrated to the entire world that there is no religious persecution in Russia, and that people here are tolerant of both believers and the clergy.

But the elections have gone and we now need to move on. We are facing a highly important task - to unite Chechen people, those living in the republic and those living in diasporas. There can be no stability in the republic without this. And I urge those Chechen politicians who ran for the presidency but failed to join their hands for the republic's benefit. We would be happy if Malik Saidullayev, Umar Dzhabrailov, Aslanbek Aslakhanov and many Chechen businessmen living outside the republic continued to help Chechen people. We have chosen a president and let's stand together under the same banner. We should forgive each other for any offences. And I, as the Chechen mufti, will try to ensure that the stabilisation process in Chechnya continues.

To this end, we should work with the Chechen president and the future Chechen parliament. We should conduct considerable ideological work to make it clear to all Chechens that terrorism and extremism have nothing in common with Islam. We should put an end to the enmity within Chechen society. A lot is being done and reconciliation commissions are already working. On October 4 on the eve of the Chechen elections, a pan-Chechen reconciliation event took place in Shali. Bloody revenge came to an end. We showed the entire world and ourselves that Chechens could unite and forgive mutual offences of the past decade.

There are still many problems in Chechnya, and we want to address them without washing our dirty linen in public, and we shall do this.

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