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Tatarstan Honors Visiting OIC Head

OIC Secretary-General Ekmeletdin Ihsanoglu (file photo)

OIC Secretary-General Ekmeletdin Ihsanoglu (file photo)

KAZAN, Russia -- In a ceremony in Kazan, Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu has been made a foreign member of Tatarstan's Academy of Sciences, RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service reports.

Ihsanoglu came to Kazan to promote the launching of a major English-language publication called "Tatar History and Civilization."

He also visited the ruins of Bolghar, an ancient site where the Bulgars, the ancestors of the present-day Tatars, adopted Islam in the 10th century.

Former Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev is overseeing a major reconstruction of Bolghar. Shaimiev is also lobbying to have the site included on the World Heritage List of the United Nations cultural organization, UNESCO.

Ihsanoglu and Shaimiev agreed during talks to hold an international conference in 2012 under OIC auspices on the spread of Islam throughout the Volga-Ural region.

The OIC is an international organization geared to promoting Islamic interests and culture. It has 57 member states, while Russia has observer status.