Mufti of the Chechen Republic Says Ukraine Invaders Are ‘On the Path of Allah’

Chechen
KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP via Getty Images

The Mufti of the Chechen Republic has endorsed Russian president Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, backed by Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, saying that the invaders are “on the path of Allah”.

Kadyrov, an Islamist who fought in a jihadist insurrection against the Russian Federation in the mid-’90s but helped to crush a wider insurrection in 1999, ultimately following his father to become Chechnya’s undisputed master under President Putin’s patronage, recently boasted he could muster up to 70,000 fighters to aid the Ukrainian offensive.

Following a rally of 12,000 such fighters in the regional capital of Grozny, the strongman announced that Chechen forces were indeed in Ukraine, sharing a video which he claimed showed some of his men hauling down the Ukrainian flag and raising a Russian one in its place at a captured military facility.

The Mufti of the Chechen Republic, Salah Mezhiev, has offered religious backing to the offensive, asserting that the Russian federal subject’s Islamist system might collapse along with Russia proper if alleged Western scheming to destroy the country succeed, according to Chechen media previously cited by both Russian and Western outlets.

“About 30 million Muslims live in Russia. Islam is an officially respected religion in this country. In this country, at the legislative level, insulting the Prophet Muhammad and the Qur’an is prohibited,” Mezhiev explained, praising the current arrangement as one in which “there is freedom to practice Islam to the fullest.”

“But all this will fall apart if Russia falls apart,” he warned.

The Islamic jurist alleged that Nazis within Ukraine are operating as tools of the United States and Europe, with the ultimate goal of destroying Russia — and that this would have a negative impact on the religious settlement in Chechnya.

“Russia invaded Ukraine. The reason she invaded is to remove the people doing harm to the establishment of peace,” the mufti claimed, insisting that “the people who went [to Ukraine] are on the path of Allah.”

Ukrainian media outlet The Kyiv Independent claimed early Sunday that “a convoy of Chechen special forces” had been destroyed, citing the Office of the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky. Leading British tabloid The Daily Mail repeated the claim, suggesting that Chechen warlord Magomed Tushaev had been killed near the town of Hostomel (Gostomel) near Kyiv (Kiev) in a missile strike on his forces which destroyed dozens of tanks — but there appears to be little substantive evidence for the incident as of the time of publication.

Ramzan Kadyrov, for his part, has denied the reports, insisting that his forces have “don’t have a single casualty at the moment, not a single man has been injured, not even a scratch” and sharing a video which purports to show him speaking to Tushaev on the telephone.

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