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    GEORGIA * PRESIDENT * PANKISI

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    GEORGIAN PRESIDENT AGAINST WAHHABISM *

    TBILISI, February 18, 2004. (RIA Novosti correspondent Marina Kvaratskhelia) - Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili said that the Pankisi Gorge had become a real breeding ground of Wahhabism.

    "I want to warn those who are spreading Wahhabist literature in Georgia and organise appropriate centres that they should hope for any mercy," said the President in introducing new State Security Minister Zurab Adeishvili to the ministry's staff members.

    The President said that "any attempts to disseminate bellicose Islam, to found centres and to finance people engaged in spreading Wahhabism among the inhabitants of the Pankisi Gorge and so-called Kistin Chechens will be checked by the toughest methods." (Wahhabism appeared in the 18th century on the Arabian Peninsula in the midst of the most rigorous of all the four teachings in Islam - Hanbalism. At that time it had an anti-Turkish trend and was an ideological banner of the struggle against the Ottoman yoke. Hanbalism is sometimes called "Moslem Protestantism" for its complete rejection of mediators between the God and the ummah, and of the cult of saints. Wahhabism is a state religion in Saudi Arabia.)

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