The opening ceremony of the III Islamic Forum. Part II

Uploaded by VestnikKavkaza on 20.12.2010

Alexey Grishin, Chief Advisor to the Administration of the President of the Russian Federation
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the time of the revival of traditional religions has come.
People have become interested in their religious traditions.
For seventy years the State restricted the rights of believers.
Russian Muslims are also involved in this process.
If, at the beginning of the 90s, there were only one hundred Mosques in the country,
now there are almost seven thousand of them.
This means that in the last twenty years the number of Mosques in our country has increased seventy-fold.
In connection with this another problem became obvious.
There is a lack of qualified specialists, a lack of people able to serve in these Mosques.
That is why a lot of young people had to go abroad to study Islam there.
We had to establish our own Islamic educational institutions.
At the beginning of the century, Islamic organizations such as the Council of Muftis of Russia asked for governmental support.
We have elaborated several programmes in order to support Islamic educational institutions in the country.
Father Vsevolod (Chaplin), the Head of the Department of Cooperation between Society and the Church of the Moscow Patriarch's Office
Forms of education are undergoing fundamental changes, and this process is extremely quick.
These new forms greatly affect the whole educational system.
The internet and long-distance means of education make us reconsider the traditional values
and hierarchy of educational institutions, no matter whether we are speaking about secular or religious education.
Nowadays any man can be a teacher, and the traditional hierarchy of educational institutions
is less important than the authority of a certain teacher, the teacher's knowledge,
pedagogical skills and, possibly more importantly, the personal qualities of the teacher, his morals.
That is why it is extremely important to pay special attention to the education of teachers.
In previous centuries, even fifty years ago, it was enough to establish an adequate system,
but now, in the epoch of long-distance education, the most important thing is the role of the teacher, his image and authority.
No system will be adequate without a proper teacher.
It is very important to teach teachers.
I would like to wish the representatives of the Islamic University of Russia
and the newly-born system of Islamic education in our country luck.
This system is very important.
The future of Islam in Russia depends on the education, on the teachers, on their authority and professional skills.
That is very important for the whole country, as Russia cannot be imagined without its Muslim community,
because the peaceful cohabitation of people of different religions is a necessary condition of social security in the country.
Archbishop Antonio Mennini, the Apostolic Nuncio for Russia
It is a great honour for me to be present at this conference organized by the Council of Muftis of Russia.
That shows that the cooperation between Islamic institutions in Russia and the Roman Catholic Church is adequate.
As Pope Benedict XVI said during his visit to Palestine,
we have no political power, only a spiritual authority,
but this authority can contribute much to the establishment of peace in the world.
Our faith can give us knowledge and moral power.
Both Christians and Muslims believe that peace is a gift of the Almighty Creator,
but at the same time is the result of human activity.
The establishment of peace is impossible without equality between different peoples and different communities.
Rabbi Zinovy Kogan, the chairman of the Congress of Jewish Religious Organizations and Associations of Russia
There are few reasons for religious conflicts,
but the escalation of any such conflict can be extremely dangerous for the whole country.
There are few radical groups, but their open manifestations can lead to radicalizations of society.
What can our response to this be?
We should establish cooperation between different religious communities and organizations.
For instance, there is a special Commission in the United Nations Organization.
We should establish special centers, where people of different religions should meet each other
and become acquainted with different cultures.
We should also support education together and such social institutions as the family.
We should open our temples to each other.
Muslims can have a chance to pray in a Synagogue and a Jew in a Mosque.
We are brothers, like Isaac and Ismail, we cannot be saved apart.
God save us all!