Ibragim Dudarov, a deputy mufti in the North Caucasus republic of North Ossetia, was murdered late Wednesday night while driving home near Vladikavkaz.
He was shot five times at close range after stopping his vehicle for an unknown reason, RIA-Novosti reported Wednesday.
At this time, the only thing that police have determined for certain is that Dudarov stopped his vehicle along a dark road near his home in the village of Chmi, about 25 kilometers from Vladikavkaz, leading to speculation that he fell into a trap. The number of assailants is still undetermined.
Dudarov reportedly had peaceful relations with his fellow residents in Chmi, where he relocated several months ago to be closer to his father. He became a deputy mufti in October 2011.
"Ibragim was a conflict-free man. He was chosen specifically and killed for his faith. Only an enemy of Islam could have done this, to aggravate the situation in the region," North Ossetian mufti Khadzhimurat Gatsalov said.
The regional branch of the Investigative Committee has opened a criminal case into the matter on charges of murder and illegal trafficking of weapons, Eduard Gusov, spokesman for the committee, told RIA-Novosti Thursday. The former charge carries a punishment of up to 15 years in prison, and the latter three years.
This marks the seventh attack on Islamic leaders this year.