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Tatar Mufti Upset That 'Immoral' Actresses Attend Muslim Film Festival

Olga Kabo and Ruzil Gâtine participated in the Muslim Film Festival held in September in Kazan.
KAZAN, Tatarstan -- Tatarstan's chief mufti says he sent a protest letter to the Russian republic's Culture Ministry about the "immoral background" of some actresses who attended the Muslim Film Festival held last month in Kazan, RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service reports.

Mufti Ildus Faiz wrote in a letter to Culture Minister Airat Sibagatullin, which was also posted on the Russian Islamic University website, that Tatar religious officials did not take part in selecting the festival's films, as the ministry has claimed.

Faiz also wrote that he objected to the fact that the winner for best actress at the festival, Sibel Kekilli from Germany, had previously had roles in X-rated films.

The mufti also expressed displeasure with the choice of honored guests at the festival, saying that Russian actress Olga Kabo was one of the first movie stars to be filmed naked in Russia and therefore should not have been part of a festival that has "Muslim" as part of its official name.

Faiz wrote that "either invite religious authorities to take part in the process of selecting the movies for the festival or exclude the word 'Muslim' from the event's name."

Faiz declined to comment to RFE/RL regarding his letter, saying he does not want to bring public attention to the matter.

Tatar Deputy Culture Minister Guzal Nigmatullina was not available for comment regarding the ministry's statement that religious authorities took part in the selection of the films for the festival.

Her representative told RFE/RL on October 7 that she was feeling sick and had gone to see a doctor.

Read more in Tatar here