MOSCOW (AP) — Russian police say a Muslim cleric has been shot dead in Russia’s southernmost city of Derbent amid spiraling confrontation between radical Islamists and moderate Muslims in the violence-ridden Dagestan province, according to media reports.
Regional police told the Itar-Tass news agency that two unidentified assailants gunned down imam Kalimulla Ibragimov, his father and brother as they left their house for a morning prayer early Tuesday.
The independent Kavkazvsky Uzel website reported that Ibragimov preached Salafism, a radical movement that promotes an ultraconservative brand of Islam and whose followers advocate an independent state, or emirate, in Russia’s Caucasus region.
Ibragimov is the fifth Muslim cleric killed this year in Dagestan, Russia’s most ethnically diverse republic of 3 millio. It has been roiled by an Islamic insurgency fueled by interethnic struggle and police abuses.