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Tatar President Says Kazan Could Be Russia's Bridge To Islamic World

Tatarstan's President Rustam Minnikhanov (file photo)
Tatarstan's President Rustam Minnikhanov (file photo)
KAZAN -- Tatarstan's President Rustam Minnikhanov has said Kazan could serve as a bridge or "green area" for Russia in its cooperation with Islamic countries, RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir reports.

Minnikhanov made his comments at the 2nd annual International Islamic Business and Finance Summit in Kazan on June 29, which was attended by some 500 people from around the world.

Ramil Yunis, the imam of Kazan's Qul Sharif Mosque, told RFE/RL that the main obstacle to the establishment in Russia of Islamic business practices is the country's unaccomodating laws.

"It's still not possible to open a [fully operational] Islamic bank in Russia because [the country's legislation] doesn't fit the Islamic banking system," he said.

Yunis said summits such as the one in Kazan are good places "to share opinions, but we need more than words, we need real deeds."

Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and British parliament member Nazir Ahmed were among the key speakers at the three-day summit, which concluded on June 29.