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    » 05/30/2011, 00.00

    RUSSIA - ISLAM

    Closure of an important Islamic centre. Moscow seeks control of Islam

    Nina Achmatova

    The Supreme Court ordered the Centre linked to the Council of muftis, to cease all activities. According to analysts and members of the Centre, the Kremlin wants to bring the Muslim community under the control of a single organization loyal to the state.

    Moscow (AsiaNews) – According to analysts administrative irregularities, but also political motives are behind the Supreme Court decision to close, a popular Islamic organization with offices throughout Russia last week. They also maintain that the closure of the Centre for Islamic culture is linked to the Kremlin's desire to bring the large Muslim community in the country under the control of a single organisation loyal to the state.

    On 25 May, the Supreme Court upheld the Ministry of Justice decision to close the center for "multiple violations of financial regulations." "This is a bureaucratic order given by people who want a puppet representatives for Muslims," the leader and founder , Abdul-Wahid Niyazov, told Russian media. He explained how documentation submitted by the Ministry for Justice was obtained under pressure from the Security Service (FSB), the notorious Russian secret services. Niyazov added that several directors of the Centre resigned following threatening phone-call by the FSB. The intention now is to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

    Given the public arm of the Council of muftis - one of four organizations representing Russian Muslims - the Centre for Islamic Culture held exhibitions, press conferences, seminars and conferences with religious authorities. Its closure has been greeted positively by the 'rival' Muftis body of the whole of Russia, established last December with the active support of the Kremlin. According to the president of that organism, Mukhammedgali Khuzin, the Centre was also damaging to the community and interfaith dialogue, but he added no further explanation.

    Alexander Soldatov, journalist, expert on religion columnist for the site portalcredo.ru, the central government did not appreciate the Centre’s initiative in organizing a mass prayer inside and outside the central mosque in Moscow in November on the feast of Eid al -Adha. "Immediately after that event - Soldatov said - the Kremlin was frightened and established the body of Muftis in direct competition with the Council." Also, the Council is the main promoter of the construction of new mosques in the capital - where there are four - to meet the needs of the growing Muslim community. But both the city administration, the federal government does not seem willing to give up, especially after clashes between ethnic Russian Christians and Caucasians Muslims which erupted in the city in December.
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    See also

    03/11/2010 RUSSIA
    Attack on Christians in Russian Caucasus
    Three churches in Karachayevo-Cherkessia set on fire, but Muslims are being targeted too: Imam killed in Dagestan. Attempts to "destabilize the inter-religious peace."

    16/04/2008 RUSSIA – ISLAM
    Moscow patriarch responds to 138 Muslim scholars
    In a letter published on the Moscow Patriarchate website, Aleksij II lays out the ground for a possible dialogue with Islam, namely the need to face common challenges that require joining forces. At the same time he insists that in any exchange the identity of each participant must be respected so as to avoid the danger of syncretism.

    13/06/2011 RUSSIA - ISLAM
    Dagestan, dean of an Islamic university killed. Remembered by Russian Church
    He was a Sufi Muslim. Moscow Patriarchate: Sadikov was a "good friend" now the state and the nation will help the Muslim Ummah to reject extremism.

    07/10/2004 RUSSIA
    Metropolitan appreciates Vatican gestures, pledges support in fight against terrorism


    22/11/2011 RUSSIA - ISLAM
    The Kremlin allocates 32 million dollars for Islamic education
    President Medvedev says it is "important" to train experts in Muslim history and culture and integrate Islamic educational system with the state. In Russia, 96 Islamic educational institutions and 7 universities.



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