The roundtable was a part of the 7th Forum “Islam in a Multicultural World”.
The experts were former Minister of Religious Affairs of Tunisia Laroussi Mizouri, President of the Tunisian Academy of Arts and Literature Abdelmajid Charfi, Deputy Director of the Institute of Oriental Studies Alikber Alikberov, Head of the Center for Arabic and Islamic Studies of the Institute of Oriental Studies Vasily Kuznetsov, Senior Research Associate of the Center for Arabic and Islamic Studies of the Institute of Oriental Studies Svetlana Babenkova, Head of the Section of Culture of Spiritual Directorate of Muslims of Russia Ahmad Makarov, and others. Deputy Director of the KFU Islamica Center Aydar Khabutdinov was moderating.
Dr. Alikberov said, “There are results from “Islam in a Multicultural World”, and they are measured in books and research. The second result is that we start understanding where we are heading, the parameters of cooperation and integration of religion into society and state. As a result, we see young people who used to have that conflict of identities – whether they are Muslims, Tatars, Dagestanis or Russians – realizing that such identities can peacefully coexist.”
Vasily Kuznetsov noted a lack of communication between the authorities and the expert community. He had high praise for KFU’s forum as a ground for discussion.
Dr. Alikberov answered that his Institute has written over 350 notes and surveys for the state authorities so far this year, and there has definitely been some feedback.
Islamic banking was also tackled during the press conference. Svetlana Babenkova, who is a member of the State Duma’s workgroup on Islamic finance, reminded that there were two pilot projects in Islamic banking in Tatarstan, but they both closed because of the financial crisis.
She went on, “Russia is generally interested in Islamic products, and major banks are ready to open such product lines. International partners from Arabic countries are optimistic about Russia and are ready to provide support. But until there are amendments to the Russian law, it will be difficult to accomplish that.” Dr. Babenkova opined that it’s reasonable to develop this business in Russia.
Mr. Charfi concluded, “There is only capitalist economy. Currently Islamic banks use the same market mechanisms as other banks. They change the wording, but the basics of business are the same – there is interest rate in both cases.”