Moscow, Dec 27 (IANS) A 34-year-old Muslim cleric was found shot dead inside his car in southwestern Russia's North Ossetia republic, RIA Novosti reported Thursday.
Ibragim Dudarov was found on a road near the capital Vladikavkaz. The attack took place around 11 p.m. Wednesday as Dudarov was driving home, North Ossetian mufti Khadzhi-Murat Gatsalov said.
"He was shot at close range. A total of five shots were fired," Gatsalov said.
The Russian Council of Muftis called on law enforcement agencies to find the killers.
"This killing is more proof that the enemies of Islam don't want peace," council head and Russia's chief mufti Ravil Gainutdin said.
Another senior Muslim cleric said the killing showed that "everyone preaching traditional Islam is taking a stand against extremism and is therefore at risk".
Gatsalov insisted that Dudarov was attacked for his work as a cleric.
"This man died for his faith. I think it is linked to his work. Someone doesn't want this kind of Islam in North Ossetia," he said.
Attacks on Muslim clerics have become more frequent in Russia in recent years.
In August, prominent Sufi sheikh Said Atsayev, 74, was killed in a suicide bombing in Dagestan, while in July, the head mufti in Tatarstan, Ildus Faizov, was injured in a car bomb attack, hours after his former deputy was shot dead.