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Leader of Chechen Fighters Says He Would Accept A Treaty That Doesn't Restrict Practice of Religion

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Dokka Umarov, the self-proclaimed "commander-in-chief of the Caucasus Emirate," said in an interview posted online that he hopes the Chechen fighters are one day offered an agreement that they can accept.

"God willing, the time will come when an infidel will offer us an agreement, and then we will accept their peace, because the Koran says that if they offer you peace, then accept it. War is not the goal for the Muslims in and of itself," said Umarov in the 28-minute interview posted on the Kavkaz TV website.

Umarov, who is also known as Abu Usman, explained that for an agreement to be acceptable it has to allow Chechen Muslims the freedom to practice their religion. He argues that treaties being offered to Muslims today contain ultimatums. "'Either you renounce the Sharia, or we will be bombing your cities and villages,' we can see happening today," he says.

Umarov tells his interviewer he does not like politics, but adds that "is impossible to be at the head of the Jihad and outside politics."

He warns militants to not rush creating a "virtual state" in the Chechen areas. "As of today, the mujahideen are controlling the woodland, the mountains and some of the foothill villages - this is our territory and our base, God willing. The control is not complete so far, not absolute, because the kuffar (infidels) at times gather large forces and enter our territories," he says.

He also criticizes Muslims in the Balkans, saying that they were fighting to gain independence from Serbia only to develop a dependency on the U.S. and NATO. "They were doing the jihad to get from infidels to infidels, may God preserve us from such a way," he says.

According to Kavkaz TV, the interview was conducted in May by "a Kavkaz TV journalist" called Shamsuddin Nashkhoyev. A translated transcript of the interview was posted in English, Arabic, Russian and Turkish on the Kavkaz TV website.