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Islamic studies out of favor

26.09.2012  |  21:56

Islamic studies out of favor. 28363.jpeg

On September 25, at Kazan Federal University (KFU) the VIII International Congress of Orientalists was held. It was marked by two events. First, ex-President of Tatarstan was awarded the Medal of Ignatius Krachkovsky - the highest award of oriental society of Russia. The second event had a backstage character. Namely - on the opening day of the Congress the report of the Tatar Islam expert Rais Suleymanov was removed from the agenda because it was deemed "unscientific" and "provocative". The topic of the report was the impact of Islamic structures from abroad and growth of radical Islam in Tatarstan.

Rais Suleymanov told Gtimes about how this has happened:

"Back in the spring I learn that in Kazan will be held Congress of the Society, and sent the abstracts there. My name is known in the Society since I have long been its member. Specifically, I wanted to tell the story of foreign influence of Muslim countries, such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iran, and Turkey in the Tatarstan. I believe that this effect has a negative impact on the Tatar Muslims. In August, I was told that my application was accepted. On 25th I came in the KFU to register, and I was told, "You are not in the list!" I was given no reasonable explanation. I failed to contact any of the organizers. Everyone was busy opening the congress and honoring Shaimiyev. I explained the situation to the KFU employees. According to them, my participation was canceled by special order of the rector of the University Linar Latypov, who had talked about me on the eve in a telephone conversation with representatives of the Kazan Kremlin. They decided no to give me word. I tried to contact Latypov, but his office didn't respond. However, it was expected from Linara Latypov".

In brief comments to the media, Linar Latypov, the KFU pro-rector for International Relations and Director of the Institute of Oriental Studies described Suleymanov's report as "provocation". We should briefly touch upon his life. Until 2011, he was a deputy of the Russian representative under the "Islamic Conference" (OIC) in the Saudi city of Jeddah. Russia was represented in Jeddah by his brother, the former mayor of Kazan Iskhakov. In 2011, Iskhakov was dismissed and returned to Kazan. Linar Latypov returned to homeland with him. In summer 2011, the then head of Russian Ministry of Education Andrei Fursenko appointed Linar Latypov the KFU pro-rector. Ilshat Gafurov, rector of the university, took Latypov positively. According to a source of the edition in the KFU, in the university they just hate rector Gafurov and his team. First of all, for the fact that the rector and his team have nothing to do with science. "They're bureaucrats, despite their degrees. Everyone knows how the officials become doctors. These officials have cut a lot of employees of the research centers, fired objectionable professionals, appointed huge salaries for themselves", the source in the Tatar scientific environment told the edition.

Linar Latypov considers his work as rector and director of the oriental institute the opportunity to expand business ties of Tatarstan with Islamic countries, especially Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Linar Latypov wanted to adjust Russian business model to the Saudi sample, since it would be more beneficial to the partners of Tatarstan - Gulf monarchies. According to Latypov, Tatarstan's cooperation with Arab monarchies promises "Muslim republic of Tatarstan" the economic prosperity.

In practice this has led to lobbying by the Institute of Oriental Studies of of the KFU non-traditional forms of Islam in Tatarstan - Hanbali and Salafism. Director Latypov argues: "I've seen a lot of Salafis from Russia in Jeddah, they are not extremists, but normal people". Linar Latypov tolerated no criticism. According to information from Kazan, this was Rais Suleymanov's mistake in late last year, that time a fellow at the Center for International Studies University. "That time, Rais Suleymanov, in collaboration with the now late Waliullah - Hazrat Yakupov, was writing and talking a lot about Wahhabism in Tatarstan and Russia in general. Separately, he touched oppression of Russians in Tatarstan. In the end, Latypov and Gafurov closed the center and fired Suleymanov", the source in the KFU told the edition. One detail: on the opening day of the VIII Congress of Orientalists Latypov said he did not know who was Suleymanov.

A former Suleymanov's colleague, assistant professor of sociology of the KFU Iskander Yasaveyev also spoke about the incident at the Congress of Orientalists. "Style of management of the KFU administration and the very Linar Latypov's behavior raise many questions. He doesn't develop the university. The declared program of modernization and improvement of educational standards has remained on paper. I'm aware that Rais Suleymanov's report was canceled retroactively under personal order of Linar Latypov. Latypov called Suleymanov's report "unscientific" and "provocative". I think Latypov's behavior is unscientific. Scientific format implies discussion and debate must be open. The fact that the parties of the scientific discussion is removed before the opening, this is not science. This has never happened at the scientific seminars and conferences", Yasaveyev told Gtimes.


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