August 26, 2010 / 12:05 PM / 9 years ago

TIMELINE-Encroachment of sharia law in Russia's Caucasus

MOSCOW, Aug 26 (Reuters) - Against the backdrop of a spreading Islamist insurgency in Russia’s mainly Muslim North Caucasus, the Kremlin watches uneasily as federal authority yields to Islamic tenets and sharia law.

Here are aspects of sharia law mostly in the Chechnya region, which have been ordered by religious authorities in recent months and often violate Russia’s constitution.

Aug 2010: Many women complain they have been harassed by bands of men for not wearing headscarves in Chechnya. Some of the assailants said they were working under orders from religious authorities.

Aug 2010: Chechnya’s mufti Sultan Mirzayev, the region’s spiritual leader and a close ally of Kadyrov, makes the radical order that all eateries shut completely for the holy month of Ramadan. Though it carries no legal weight, it is followed through, residents and witnesses say.

July 2010: Hardline, Kremlin-backed Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov says in a state TV interview that he was grateful to assailants who targeted women with paintball pellets for not wearing headscarves.

July 2010: Authorities in Ingushetia said they, along with Muslim elders, have officially tripled the "kalym", the price a groom must pay his prospective bride’s family for her hand. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin looks concerned as he is told the news by Ingush leader Yunus-Bek Yevkurov.

June 2010: Men dressed in camouflage, often worn by police and security officers in Chechnya, fire paintball guns at women without headscarves. Russian rights group Memorial said the assailants were policemen.

May 2010: Kadyrov tells French newspaper Le Figaro in an interview that sharia law trumps Russian in Chechnya.

Dec 2009: Vakha Khashkhanov, the head of Chechnya’s Centre for Spiritual-Moral Education, which Kadyrov set up, tells Reuters in an interview that polygamy is allowed in Chechnya.

2007: Kadyrov orders an edict, in direct violation of Russian law, that bans women from wearing headscarves in state buildings such as schools, universities and ministries. Three years later, it is still stricly observed.

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