28 August 2009, 16:27
Medvedev backs proposal to control people who study at Islamic centers abroad
Sochi, August 28, Interfax - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said he agrees that it is necessary to strictly control people who leave Russia to study at Islamic universities abroad.
Medvedev also proposed signing long-term treaties with recognized Islamic educational centers.
"This control must be exercised, and not only from the point of view that they go to states from where they could subsequently bring the wrong Islam [to Russia]. First and foremost, they are our citizens, and we need to know what could happen to them there," Medvedev told a meeting with muftis and regional heads from the North Caucasus in Russia's Black Sea resort of Sochi on Friday.
Ingushetia's President Yunus-bek Yevkurov earlier proposed tightly controlling young people who travel abroad to study at Islamic universities.
However, this measure should not lead to Russia's isolation from the Islamic world, Medvedev said.
"All our attempts to isolate ourselves will not get us anywhere. We, as a large state where representatives of different faiths live, need to have our own such educational institutions with qualified teachers. But we should not shut out the rest of the world. Forbidden fruit always tastes the sweetest. They will go there to study in any case, and then say that what they get there is the true picture of Islam, which is described differently here [in Russia]," the Russian President said.
Medvedev said he backs the idea of signing "long-term treaties with recognized Islamic centers that are understandable to us."
"In this case, at least, we will understand where our guys go to study and what they bring back," he said.
It is necessary "both to promote our own Muslim education and to communicate with Islamic centers [abroad], but we need to act carefully," he added.
Sharabuttin Chochayev, rector of the Abu Khanif North Caucasus University, backed the President's proposals.
Today, there is no organized system that allows Russians to receive a Muslim education abroad, and this problem is quite acute, Chochayev said.
There are no documents giving the precise number of Russian citizens studying abroad, or the countries where they go, he said.
"We are convinced that our citizens should receive a spiritual Muslim education in Russia and then go abroad for advanced training, should it prove necessary," he added.