International conference “The Role of Traditional Religions and Civil Society Organizations is Highly Relevant”

29 December 2022


The participants of the International Conference “Russian Islam as a Factor of Strengthening Interethnic and Inter-Confessional Peace and Consent”, held in Kazan in late November, discussed the contribution of Russian Islamic education to consolidating all-civil unity, decrease in the authority of religious organizations in the eyes of modern Muslim youth, the role of religion in developing cooperation with Muslim states, methods to resolve differences in the Ummah, assessment of the risk of radicalization in the teenager and youth environment and other issues. The meeting coincided with the 1100th anniversary of adoption of Islam by Volga Bulgaria and was held under the auspices of the Public Chamber of the Republic of Tatarstan and the Commission of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation on harmonization of interethnic and interreligious relations.

More than 80 well-known specialists and experts on Islam, representatives of leading universities and research organizations of the Russian Federation and the CIS countries (Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, and Kyrgyzstan) were among the participants.

The conference began with welcoming addresses by guests of honor from Vladimir Zorin, Chairman of the Commission of the Russian Federation Public Chamber on Harmonization of Inter-Ethnic and Inter-Religious Relations, Ildar Gilmutdinov, member of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, First Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Nationalities and Chairman of the Council of the Federal National and Cultural Autonomy of the Tatars, and Zilya Valeeva, Chairman of the Public Chamber of the Republic of Tatarstan.

At the meeting, the expert community noted current issues relating to the preservation and updating of the cultural and historical heritage of Russian Islam, methods of cooperation between the state and major religious doctrines in the formation and consolidation of interfaith harmony and civil solidarity in Russia, and shared their experience of cultural and civilizational interaction with the CIS countries.

According to the Chairman of the Commission of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation on Harmonization of Interethnic and Inter-Religious Relations, only through cooperation between the authorities, civil society institutions and representatives of science has a successful model of state national policy been created. Vladimir Zorin is convinced that it is important to solve the issue of interethnic and inter-religious relations at the highest level. ‘Historically, Russia was formed as a multi-ethnic and multi-confessional state, so these relations have always been an important component of its domestic policy. Underestimating those leads to serious political crises,’ Zorin stressed.

He noted that Tatarstan had built an effective model of interaction between religious, ethnic organizations and the state, which is important to promote throughout the whole country.

In the politician’s opinion, one of the most important tasks for preserving social harmony and unity is to find and create points of reference for harmonizing relations and social stability, and to overcome differences through dialogue. In addition to it, it is necessary to strengthen the format of joint work with the state in the field of charity, culture, education, youth education, family values, and work with migrants, which is a national state task.

According to State Duma Deputy Ildar Gilmutdinov, the role of traditional religions and public organizations is extremely important. At the same time, it is necessary to train future religious figures in Russian realities and not abroad. He also drew attention to an important problem - the lack of funding for the projects of religious organizations relevant to society both ‘in the educational and social sphere, and in other directions’.

According to the parliamentarian, Tatarstan is an example for every subject of the Russian Federation, as it has become a flagship in implementing the state program. ‘The Assembly of Peoples of Tatarstan and Friendship Houses successfully operate in the republic, and regional or local national-cultural autonomies have been established and cooperate with society,’ the politician noted.

Elena Mchedalova, Doctor of Sociology, Leading Researcher at the Institute of Social and Political Studies of the Federal Research Sociological Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences, spoke about how Muslim communities and religious leaders were involved in the re-socialization of people released from prison. She noted that the work was carried out at the Centre for Re-socialization and Adaptation, which can be approached regardless of nationality or religious affiliation.

According to the experts at the academic event, the ongoing interfaith and interethnic dialogue on the platform of Tatarstan is attracting more and more attention from experts not only in Russia, but also around the world. The preservation of the invaluable experience and development of new practices implemented in the year of preparation and celebration of the 1100th anniversary of the adoption of Islam by Volga Bulgaria is the work that should be continued in the following years. The participants in the meeting also made a number of proposals, in particular the need to pay close attention to local popular culture and use teaching methods that foster patriotic feelings when developing appropriate aids.

The forum concluded with the adoption of a resolution.



GSV "Russia - Islamic world"

Photo: Evg Klimov/Unsplash