Kamil Samigullin: ‘Incompetence in religious issues can have destructive consequences’
Why doesn’t Kazan Federal University rush to join Scientific and Educational Theological Association?
Theology of Traditional Religions in Academic Space in Contemporary Russia symposium took place in Kazan. The event was held within the 4th namesake all-Russian scientific conference that is supposed to set tasks and solve the problem. The forum will continue in Saint Petersburg and Moscow in the next days. The Scientific and Educational Theological Association, Fund for Support for Islamic Culture, Science and Education, the Tatarstan Muslim Spiritual Directorate and the Kazan Eparchy of the Russian Orthodox Church are the organisers. Moderator of the Kazan symposium, Rector of Russian Islamic Institute Rafik Mukhametshin said that 61 secular and religious universities of the country were members of the association. As the Supreme Certification Commission of the Russian Ministry of Science and Higher Education Dmitry Shmonin told Realnoe Vremya’s correspondent, Kazan Federal University hadn’t joined the association yet and probably wasn’t going to do this in the short term.
“We don’t set ourselves a task of expanding our association endlessly,” he said. “It is a community of single-minded people where tasks of theology are understood in all areas. Now another five or six universities are ready to join the association. Sadly, Kazan Federal University hasn’t joined it. Only religious educational establishments (Editor’s Note Russian Islamic Institute and Bolgarian Islamic Academy) are members of the association. But the university must be interested in it.”
Shmonin added that he didn’t notice KFU had such an initiative. However, the association actively cooperates with Kazan’s oldest university holding joint events. President of the Scientific and Educational Theological Association, Chairman of the Department of Foreign Church Affairs of the Russian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Volokamsky Ilarion (Alfeyev), in turn, welcomed the participants in the forum and said that theological space couldn’t be below religion and above religion. Theology is always linked with a specific religion. He highly praised the role of Kazan in establishing dialogue between spirituality and authorities. By the way, His Grace teleconferenced via ZOOM while sitting on the back leather seat of a car. As Mukhametshin said, the metropolitan was in Syria at the moment.
“Incompetence in religious issues can have destructive consequences”
Chairman of the Tatarstan Muslim Spiritual Directorate Kamil Samigullin noted that Muslim theological education in Tatarstan was represented by both secular and religious forms of education. The system of education develops resting on a rich historical experience and realities.
“The development of a quality modern system of theological education is an issue that must be tabled at state level,” Hazrat Kamil stressed. “The conservation of civic harmony and interreligious peace in society also depends on the level of development of the theological education system. Incompetence in religious issues can have destructive consequences, it can even destabilise society. For instance, if an incompetent doctor makes a mistake in a patient’s treatment, he will do harm to his health here, in the earthly life. While illiterate religious clerics can harm a person so that he will pay for his fallacies in the everlasting life.”
He said that at the moment Tatarstan had a multilevel system of Muslim education. Classes at mosques, madrasahs, universities and Bolgarian Islamic Academy allow getting education about Islam from the basics to PhD, bring up “homebred specialists” and even send them to other regions and countries.
“It is an extremely important factor considering that today religion is shamelessly used for evil purposes and provocations around the world entailing catastrophes and human tragedies. There is no doubt that it is possible to save the unity of civic society and the Muslim centre, peace and harmony in our multiethnic and multireligious country by developing quality theological education, basing on ancestors’ spiritual traditions and reviving our theological heritage.”
Remembering “ugly incident” in Paris suburbs
Kazan and Tatarstan Metropolitan Feofan didn’t use his favourite word “cooperation” this time, however, he named Tatarstan “a laboratory of interreligious peace and harmony” again. Moreover, during his speech, he commented on the high-profile murder of the teacher in France.
We should remind you that a history teacher was beheaded in a local college in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine (27 km from Paris). The teacher showed students caricatures of Prophet Muhammad in class on freedom of speech. According to the French press, an 18-year-old Moscow-born youngster is the criminal (it was said first he was from Chechnya). French prosecutors consider the attack a terrorist attack.
“It is impossible to solve this problem with just force, doctrines and other measures,” His Grace noted. “We saw the latest ugly case in France — a teacher was killed. Where is this extremism rooted? Is it in this teenager’s head? Or is it in the head of the teacher who cruelly provoked young minds illustrating caricatures of the highest values in class? What did it lead to? To education? Or to the incitement of hatred, malice and offence? We should care about this too.”
In conclusion, as usual, he expressed his profound gratitude to the republic’s management for a deliberate policy on religious affairs.
The symposium went on in Russian Islamic Institute and Kazan Orthodox Spiritual Seminary.