Tatarstan hosts the IV International Bolgarian Forum ‘Theological Heritage of Russian Muslims’

16 May 2022


These days in the city of Bolgar, the IV International Bolgarian Forum ‘Theological Heritage of Russian Muslims’ is taking place at the Muslim Religious Educational Organization of Higher Education ‘Bolgarian Islamic Academy’.


The organizers of the Forum, the Bolgarian Islamic Academy with the assistance of the Fund for Support of Islamic Culture, Science and Education, stated that the purpose of the event was to unite intellectual efforts of domestic and foreign scientific, expert and confessional communities to develop solutions to relevant issues of development of the Muslim ummah in Russia.


The first day of the Forum began with the opening of a gallery of portraits dedicated to prominent theologians and religious figures of pre-revolutionary Russia, which were displayed at a multifunctional hall of the Bolgarian Islamic Academy. There was also a presentation of new the Academy’s new publications.


The event was started by Ainur Timerkhanov, Acting Rector of the Bolgarian Islamic Academy. He noted that year the Forum was marked by the 1100th anniversary of the adoption of Islam by Volga Bulgaria: ‘This is a landmark event that for centuries determined the nature of further development of Islam and Muslim ummah in Russia and provided a significant contribution of Russian Muslims to the common Muslim and global heritage. Therefore, this anniversary event fits organically into the program of the Year of Cultural Heritage of the Peoples of Russia, which we are celebrating in 2022’.


The Strategic Vision Group ‘Russia – Islamic World’ was represented at the Forum by Anna Belikova, Advisor to the Group, Senior Lecturer at Moscow State University, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration and Moscow State Institute of International Relations, Chief Specialist of External Communication Service at RT. In her welcoming speech, she noted that annually the Forum brought together Muslim religious and public figures, scholars who advocate commonality and civic unity without losing their ethnic identity.


In her presentation, Anna Belikova placed Russian Islam in an international context, delving into the history and touching upon the prospects of development. She notes that Russia Islam was a pillar of Russia’s civic identity, as well as of international stability and security.


Ilfar Khasanov, Chairman of the Board of Founders of the Academy, First Deputy Mufti of the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of the Republic of Tatarstan, congratulated the audience on the opening of the Forum, the upcoming celebration of the 1100th anniversary of the adoption of Islam by Volga Bulgaria and added: ‘Undoubtedly, Muslim peoples are indigenous in our country, and the celebration of the 1100th anniversary of the adoption of Islam by Volga Bulgaria at the federal level manifests recognition by the Russian leadership that Muslim citizens play an important role in developing  the country’s economy, protecting its national interests and consolidating inter-confessional accord in society’.


Speaking online, Albert Dirzizov, Head of the Department for Cooperation with Religious Associations of the Department for Domestic Policy Issues of the President of the Republic of Tatarstan, suggested that the Forum participants consider the possibility to organize a conference the following year on the history of the Quran’s publication in Russia. He also invited the guests of the event to take an active part in the celebration to be held on May 21 in Bolgar: ‘I am convinced that this historical event will leave the most pleasant memories in our hearts, and meetings will lay the foundation for new interesting projects’.


In his welcoming speech, Almaz Faizullin, Deputy Head of the Department for Cooperation with Religious Associations of the Department for Domestic Policy Issues of the President of the Russian Federation, thanked the organizers of the Forum and emphasized the efforts of the Bolgarian Islamic Academy in developing domestic Islamic education.


Mikhail Piotrovsky, Dean of the Faculty of Oriental Studies at St. Petersburg State University, Director General of the State Hermitage, Doctor of Historical Sciences, Professor and Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences, addressed the participants of the event in an online format. In his speech, he focused on the importance of contemporary cultural interaction. ‘Even oriental studies have changed from the science of the East to the science of cultural dialogue’, he noted. He also spoke about the ongoing joint work of secular and Muslim scholars on tafsirs of the Quran with theological and literary explanations.


Azat Gafurov, Head of the Department of the Federal Agency for Nationalities, read out a greeting message from Igor Barinov, Head of the Federal Agency for Nationalities, which called for unity and consolidation of all strata of Russian society in preserving traditional spiritual and moral values.


The opening session of the Forum was attended by representatives of the Tatarstan Diocese and seminarians from Kazan Orthodox Theological Seminary. Father Kirill, Metropolitan of Kazan and Tatarstan, spoke about the experience of interaction between Orthodox and Muslim communities. He stressed that the reality of our time had become close intertwining of national and confessional issues and Orthodox-Islamic dialogue was the most important factor in harmonization of ethno-confessional relations.


Azat Fattakhov, Chairman of the Council for State and Confessional Relations under the Head of the Republic of Bashkortostan, congratulated those present on the opening of the Forum and informed the audience of the upcoming conference in Ufa. This major event is related to the opening of new buildings at the Russian Islamic University. He invited the Forum participants to take part in the conference to be held that autumn.


Professor Rafik Mukhametshin, Rector of the Russian Islamic Institute, Chairman of the Council for Islamic Education, Doctor of Political Science, spoke about the problems of studying Russian theological heritage. In this matter, he set his hopes on the Bolgarian Islamic Academy, which should make a major contribution to the development of Russian Islamic science.


Professor Alexey Maslov, Director of the Institute of Asia and Africa at Moscow State University, Doctor of History, drew the participants’ attention to the current situation in the country and the resulting need for practical knowledge of Islam: ‘We are facing enormous challenges. The world will not be the same and our main partner in one way or another is the East. Today we need to engage not only in science or education, but also in training people who will interact with the countries of the Middle East. Therefore, we need practical knowledge: Muslim law, Muslim banking, etc.’


Chairman of the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Russia, Supreme Mufti Talgat Safa Tadzhuddin, Head of the Karachay-Cherkess Republic Rashid Temrezov, Deputy Chairman of the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of the Russian Federation for Foreign Affairs, Chairman of the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of the Moscow Region Rushan Abbyasov, International Advisor of the Islamic Culture, Science and Education Support Foundation Magomedbashir Albogachiev, Professor of the Faculty of Shariah Sciences at Damascus State University, Doctor of Shariah Sciences Muhammad Taufik Ramadan Al-Buty also addressed the audience with the welcoming speech at the opening of the Forum.


Rushan Abbyasov gave a warm welcome on behalf of Ravil Gaynutdin, Chairman of the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of the Russian Federation, Chairman of the Council of Muftis of Russia, to the participants of the Forum.


As part of the Forum, which will continue until May 21, two conferences will be held: the International scientific-practical conference ‘Islamic Historical and Cultural Heritage of Russian Muslims in the System of Universal Values’ and the International scientific practical conference ‘V Readings in the name of Sh. Marjani ‘Role and Activities of Fatwa Institutions in the Face of Modern Challenges and Threats’.


The first of them will start work today.


Also on May 21, the International Summit ‘Islamic Education in the Modern World: Challenges, Trends and Opportunities’ will be held by the Bolgarian Islamic Academy in cooperation with the Council of Islamic Education (Russia), the Federation of Universities of the Islamic World (Morocco) and the World Council of Muslim Communities (UAE).


The summit will discuss the issues of development of Islamic education in contemporary realities. Among the topics to be discussed are the revival of domestic Islamic theological heritage and the ole and place of Sufism in the formation and development of history and culture of Turkic peoples. The summit will include the roundtable ‘Contribution of Turkic-Tatar Muslim Theologians and Religious Figures to the Islamic Heritage’.


The opening ceremony was followed by the signing of the Agreement of cooperation in the field of humanities and spiritual culture between the Bolgarian Islamic Academy and the Federal State Scientific Institution ‘Ufa Federal Research Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences’.



GSV "Russia - Islamic World"