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Tatar Speaker Advocates Annual Marking Of Adoption Of Islam

Farit Mukhametshin
Farit Mukhametshin
MOSCOW/KAZAN -- Tatarstan parliament speaker Farit Mukhametshin has proposed that the official adoption of Islam by the precursors of the Tatar people in the 10th century be marked annually, RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service reports.

Mukhametshin was speaking during a debate ahead of the May 26 vote by Russia's Federation Council to introduce a state holiday in July to commemorate the adoption of Christianity.

Senator Amir Gallyamov, an ethnic Tatar elected from Russia's Amur region, likewise suggested adding to the list of official holidays one to mark the adoption of Islam in regions that today are part of the Russian Federation.

Mukhametshin said that up to 20 percent of Russia's population were Muslim or came from a Muslim background and that it would be appropriate to mark the adoption of Islam in Russia as well.

Federation Council Chairman Sergei Mironov reacted positively to the idea.

The Volga Bulgars -- the ancestors of the present-day Tatars -- officially adopted Islam in 922 AD, decades before Grand Prince Vladimir baptized the population of Kievan Rus in 988 AD.

Russia now has nine memorial days in its calendar.