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    RUSSIAN ADHERENTS OF WAHHABISM TO FACE IMPRISONMENT?

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    MOSCOW, April 14 (RIA Novosti) - Vladimir Kolesnikov, Deputy to the Russian Prosecutor-General, remains an advocate of the death penalty for major crimes. He made this clear as he spoke to reporters in Moscow Wednesday.

    Russia is observing a moratorium on the death penalty, Kolesnikov reminded the reporters. His personal opinion, however, is that it should be reintroduced for crimes such as "the murder of two and more individuals, terrorism, and drug trafficking." Yet, capital punishment may be enforced only if the guilt is fully proved (sic), he emphasized.

    The Deputy Prosecutor-General believes that the crime rate depends on the living standard, so when Russian economic imbalances are redressed, the number of grave crimes in this country will go down, making the death penalty irrelevant.

    A few days earlier, Kolesnikov proposed introducing criminal liability for Wahhabism. Ethnologists and Islam specialists define Wahhabism as an Arab political movement, which emerged on the Arabian Peninsula in the 18th century to struggle against Ottoman oppression. Sergei Arutyunov, who heads the Caucasus department at Moscow's Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, says that in modern Russian usage, the term "Wahhabism" is a misnomer for Islamic fundamentalism. But can adherence to Wahhahbism be qualified as a crime and punished with life imprisonment, as the Deputy Prosecutor-General suggests? However wild it may seem, no ideology in itself constitutes a crime, Arutyunov argues. But using religious or political ideas to achieve wicked ends is another matter.

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