24 September 2009, Thursday, 17:24
author: Marina Shumilova
President of Bashkortostan Murtaza Rakhimov has taken the floor at the international conference “Russia and Islamic world: partnership in the name of stability” in Moscow. The text of his speech is given briefly below:
“Dear participants of the conference! On behalf of the whole multinational population of Bashkortostan and fr om me personally let me heartily congratulate all of you with the beginning of the international conference “Russia and Islamic world: partnership in the name of stability”.
I am deeply certain that our forum will serve the noble deed on consolidation of international and inter-religious harmony, integration of Russian society, preservation and augmenting of its spiritual, moral and cultural values, expansion of economic and cultural cooperation with Muslim countries.
Today we are discussing several important modern aspects of Islam development in Russian Federation. It is very important for deep and really scientific understanding of the society we live in.
I’d like to turn your attention to the name of our conference. It isn’t quite correct because Russian Federation is not an external periphery of Islamic world but an inseparable part of Islamic civilization, wh ere millions Muslims live. Islam in Russia is considered one of the state-forming religions together with Christianity. Russian citizens, preaching Islam, represent one of the most dynamically developing groups in Russian society.
One more inaccuracy, which can be often met in our mass-media, is the statement that “Bashkortostan is the northern periphery of Muslim world and in this connection I’d like to remind that the capital of our Republic Ufa is officially recognized the Muslim capital of Russian empire, the USSR and modern Russia since the 18th century.
One year ago it was the 220th anniversary of the Central Clerical Muslim Assembly, now the Central Clerical Muslim Dept RF. Being the great state activist the Empress Ekaterina the II had reached this wise and far-reaching decision, which has become the event of the great religious-clerical and geopolitical importance. For the first time in Russian history the adherents of Islam received their own organization. Its name changed many times in the course of two centuries but its essence remained unshakeable. This is one of few all-Russian boards, which managed to preserve contiguity and activity of its structures, high authority, staffing potential, archives and solid historical experience.
Specialists often asked themselves the question – why Ufa had been chosen the main residence for the Supreme Mufti of Russia. There are several grounds to my mind. First of all, popularizations of Islam on our territory and our spiritual brotherhood have deep and centuries-old roots. Here, on the richest and magnificent territories of the South Ural we watch really unique civilization and a sort of model of the whole Russia. Bashkortostan accumulated invaluable experience of the centuries-old joint habitation of Eurasian nations, efficient interaction between different cultures, religions and traditions. As you know, in the XX century our Republic has become the first national formation in Russian Federation and now it plays an important role in further development of federative structure of the country. We observe no antagonism between traditional religions in Bashkortostan and our territory never faced the confrontation between Christianity and Islam.
Further I have to mention that Bashkortostan was always considered a prominent center of religious ideas and new religious directions. In the course of many centuries the clergy in many respects determined spiritual life and moral supports of Russian society. Our religious activists were the teachers and enlighteners and the names of these activists were Miftakhetdin Akmullah, Muchamet-Salim Umetbaev, Zia Kamali, famous cleric Zainulla Rasulev, mufti Risaitdin Fakhretdinov and many others. Some of them have died for their beliefs. Their light names and feats will never be forgotten. They’ve become an important part of our culture and history.
The “jadidism” – a new religious movement – has been born in the 19th century and same time the whole network of the higher Muslim education institutions was established in the Republic. Thus, the madrasah “GALYA” was very popular among Russian Muslims. Here a great number of representatives of Ural and Central Asia studied. In reality it was the elite of the humanitarian Turk-speaking intellectuals. All these facts were the evident signs of development of special model of Russian Islam in the country. Russian Islam was always different with its moderateness and the absence of fanaticism. The ideas of peaceful coexistence of Islam and other religions within the frames of one country lie in its base, as well as the conscious refusal from religious intolerance, respectful attitude to women, openness before the achievements of science and technique. These qualities make Russian Islam modern and deeply progressive.
I can proudly report that for the last 20 years large work on restoration of religious spirituality was dine in our Republic. It is enough to say that eight religious centers and more than one thousand of religious communities function in Bashkortostan today. Along with the Central Clerical Muslim Department of Russia, headed by the Supreme Mufti Talgat Tadjuddin we have our own efficiently working Clerical Muslim Dept RB, found in the staff of Russian Mufti Council.
Republic of Bashkortostan fully supports revival of spirituality in our society. Immediately after the beginning of the social reforms we started to render local religious communities assistance in capital repair and restoration of more than 110 and erection of more than 180 new cult facilities. Creating comfortable conditions for satisfaction of national, spiritual and cultural needs of people our Republic contributes to upbringing of the sense of patriotism and pride for our great cultural heritage among our compatriots. Some religious holidays, such as the Easter, Uraza-Bayram and Kurgan-Bayram are the state holidays in Bashkortostan.
All this valuable experience, accumulated in the Republic, deserves close attention and is necessary for the next generations. I am do sure this approach meets the policy of restoration of Great Russia!
The religious communities received the opportunity to develop their own system of education. At present time five Muslim education institutions work in the Republic. The largest institution is the Russian Islamic University by Riza Fakhretdin – the assignee of the famous madrasah “GALYA” – one of five Russian Islamic higher education institutions.
As President of Russia and Chairman of Russian Government said many times, our society faces serious social, political and economic challenges and here the potential of Islam is used far from full measure. The policy of state atheism has irrevocably left for the past. This practice of removal of religion from everyday life of our society was a tragic mistake or even the crime. Today we have all conditions for meeting the religious needs of the believers, but at the same time we loose the battle for our youth. In 90s a part of our youngsters was infected with the cult of consumerism, moral nihilism and violence. Alcoholism and drug addiction became a sort of social epidemic.
I am sure that Islam, as well as other traditional confessions, has to say its weighty word in struggle with these social evils and here the interests of Islam and the state fully coincide because Koran prohibits social vices. The struggle for morality of the future generations is our common care.
Dear participants of the forum! We believe that Muslims, Christians and adherents of other religions will further contribute to consolidation of peace, friendship and agreement between people and serve restoration and prosperity of our great state!
I wish the participants of today’s forum productive discussions on all problems indicated, well-being and happiness and every success in all your good deeds and thoughts”.