How can the study of our own theological heritage help in getting closer to the Islamic world? What are the results of the cooperation between the Bulgarian Islamic Academy and the Strategic Vision Group “Russia – Islamic World”? At what stage is the system of Russian Islamic Education? We have asked Rector of the Bulgarian Islamic Academy Daniyar Abdrakhmanov to tell us about it.
“You have been the Rector of the Bulgarian Islamic Academy for a rather long period of time. The first Doctors of Islamic Sciences have already been trained. For many people the Bulgarian Islamic Academy is a bright and successful example of a necessary platform for inter-religious dialogue, a forge of training modern theologians. Are there any first successes in this direction?”
“It should be said that the Centre of Inter-religious Dialogue has been established in the Academy. It deals with important work, the results of which we will be able to observe very soon. If we speak about activities of the Academy in general, a certain important stage, connected with the formation is being finished. Now we have three sets of graduate students. An important historical event took place in September – we graduated the first Doctors of Islamic Sciences. Now we are facing the task to raise scientific research to a new level.
When we speak about a theologian, it is not only a highly educated scholar but also a conscious citizen, who has broad competences and understands geopolitical and internal political situation, who knows how to convey his thoughts, views to all segments of population properly”.
“It is not a secret to anybody that Muslim peoples of Russia have very rich theological heritage. To what extent can preservation, study and further popularization of our theological heritage play into hands of establishing relations with the Islamic world?”
“One of the most important directions is to recreate the national Islamic theological school on the basis of that heritage, which we have now and most of which has not been studied to the end. The Centre of Islamic Heritage has been established in the Bulgarian Islamic Academy, which deals with study of handwritten heritage and scientific research. It seems to me that it is interesting here that we attract researches of our heritage from foreign countries. One of the members of our dissertation council, Chairman of Bahrain’s Highest Sharia Court Ibrahim Mureihi is engaged in the study of Tatar theological heritage. He is currently preparing a scientific paper for publication. In addition to it, there is an agreement that this work will be published by the Bulgarian Islamic Academy”.
“The very establishment of the Bulgarian Islamic Academy completed building of a full system of Islamic education. To what extent does the Russian Islamic education allow to train high-qualified specialists and effectively counteract the spread of radical views?”
“One should say that the system of Islamic education in our country is still being established. We can speak about a multi-level system. The fact is that the Bulgarian Islamic Academy is also actively involved in the work carried out by the Council for Islamic Education. We hope that very soon we will manage to standardize this work, thus raising all the levels of Islamic education in order to improve the quality of received knowledge and raise the level of applicants”.
“One of the activities of the Bulgarian Islamic Academy is closely connected with the work of the Strategic Vision Group “Russia – Islamic World”. What is the result of this cooperation today?”
“It is true that we work with the Group very closely. This year we have organized three large events – Summer School, the first youth model of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the big conference, which focused on the issue of “Islam and Society Regional Aspect”. I hope that next year the plan of interaction with our academy will be expanded. I think it is a very important direction because those platforms which we use host representatives of both academic community and authorities of Islamic countries. All of this will benefit not only individual regions, but also the whole country”.
The interviewer: Ilmira Gafiyatullina