Islamic institute in status row

October 21, 2005

The Russian Islamic University in Kazan, capital of Tatarstan, is likely to be secularised, its deputy
rector, Suleyman Zaripov, revealed last week.

Since it was set up in 1998 to train Muslim clerics, the RIU has emerged as the flagship institution
for Islamic higher education in Russia. It has some 0 students from more than 20 regions.

However, the Russian Ministry of Education’s licensing commission has refused to renew the
RIU’s licence to award degrees in theology, alleging an anomaly in the official name of the university
and its statutes. The Government of Tatarstan, a republic in the Russian Federation, has launched
its own inquiry, which Mr Zaripov claims seems intent on secularising the university.

The university statutes do not include the word “religious”. The commission ruled that the RIU
must change its statutes or drop religious courses.

Mr Zaripov said that abandoning the religious courses was unacceptable because the university
was founded to train Muslim clerics. Therefore, he told the Tatar-Inform news agency, it would be
preferable to change the statutes.

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