Court, do not steal women: Chechen leader tells his men

23rd October 2010, Comments 0 comments

Chechen strongman leader Ramzan Kadyrov on Saturday urged young men to learn the art of courtship as the former rebel seeks to root out the ancient practice of bride-stealing in his volatile region.

The 34-year old father of seven imparted tips on wooing women on national television amid a region-wide campaign to ban bride-kidnapping.

Stressing that women fall in love through their ears, Kadyrov urged his men to wise up.

"If you explain beautifully, a woman does not look to see whether you are handsome or not -- but listens more, so you can win her heart," Kadyrov said in heavily accented Russian.

"It's easy to win her heart. That is why I advise our boys to read stories and watch movies more and to learn more beautiful phrases to tell girls."

Kadyrov has one wife and seven children -- four girls and three boys, according to his spokesman Alvi Karimov.

Like most regions in the North Caucasus, Chechnya is predominantly Muslim and Kadyrov has sought to impose Islamic values encouraging women to wear headscarves and men to take multiple wives.

Federal authorities frown upon Muslim traditions like polygamy, which are in conflict with Russian law, and Kadyrov's government has sought to discourage bride-abduction, an ancient tradition that has proved resilient in the modern-day Caucasus.

Kadyrov said earlier this month the practice often lead to bad blood among an intricate patchwork of clans and should therefore cease to exist.

Top religious authorities in Chechnya have said a fine for bride stealing would be one million rubles (33,000 dollars).

The revival of Muslim traditions following the Soviet collapse coincides with an increase in insurgent attacks and is unnerving for the Kremlin amid signs that it is losing control over the region where authorities fought two full-scale wars with separatists in the 90s.

© 2010 AFP

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