Russia’s Muslim south triples sharia bride price as Islamic law advances
The pricetag on a bride in Russia’s Ingushetia province has been tripled by the regional government, in a sign the Muslim North Caucasus region is slipping out of Kremlin control as sharia eclipses Russian law.
Against the backdrop of a bubbling Islamist insurgency, the revival of Islam in the North Caucasus following the break-up of the Soviet Union almost 20 years ago has brought sharia law to the region, revered by both rebels and ordinary citizens alike.
((Photo: Zalikhan, 16, going to her wedding in a Chechen refugee camp in Ingushetia, August 7, 2000/stringer)
The issue of the ‘kalym’, a price paid by a groom to the family of the woman he chooses to marry, is the latest example of a broader trend that has troubled the Kremlin.
At an Ingush conference for Muslim scholars and elders this week, attended by the Kremlin-backed leader of Ingushetia, Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, the money a groom must pay the bride’s family for her hand was increased from 12,500 roubles ($401.9) to 40,000 roubles ($1,286), the local government said on official website ingushetia.ru. “It is time to raise the rates, and with them the responsibility of the groom,” a statement on the site said.
At a meeting with Yevkurov, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin looked concerned as he told the Ingushetia leader that the price rise for a bride did not correspond to Russian inflation. Putin added he was not sure if the practice, widespread in the Caucasus and Central Asia, was Muslim in its nature.