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Students In Tatarstan Want Muslim Holiday Observed

A man carries a sheep for slaughter for Eid al-Adha in Kazan.
KAZAN, Russia -- Students at Kazan Federal University are protesting a decision by the university administration to hold classes as usual even though Tatarstan is marking an important Islamic holiday, RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service reports.

Student activist Rustam Khairullin, told RFE/RL the decision ran counter to national traditions, culture, and religion. He said it didn't make sense for students to attend classes while the entire republic celebrates Eid al-Adha.

Other universities and schools in Kazan and elsewhere in Tatarstan are closed today.

Khairullin, a freshman at the mathematics and cybernetics faculty, said he and his close friends planned to skip classes today and go to a mosque.

He said that he and his friends sent a written request to the students' unions for an explanation why Eid al-Adha was designated a normal study day, but they received no response.

University human-resources director Lidia Khammatova said that the university functioned in accordance with Russian federal laws on education.

Meanwhile, Razil Valiyev, the chairman of the Tatarstan parliament's Committee for Culture, Science, Education, and National Issues, said that all institutions and organizations in Tatarstan should comply with the republic's laws.

Kazan Federal University, formerly Kazan State University, is one of the largest and oldest in the Russian Federation.

Read more in Tatar here