Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Window on Eurasia: Duma Fraction Sets Up Islamic Research Center

Paul Goble

Vienna, August 21 – The 45 member Duma parliamentary group interested in promoting better relations between the Russian Federation and Muslim countries has established a center for strategic research on that topic and launched a website where its findings are to be posted.
A week ago, Shamil Sultanov, the Duma deputy who heads this parliamentary group, announced the opening of the center, the appointment of Iskander Batyrov as its head, and the creation of its website, http://www.Russia-IslamicWorld.ru (http://www.islamnews.ru/index.php?name=News&op=view&sid=6864).
Sultanov said that “one of the main tasks” of the center is “to prepare specialized analytic reports, develop medium and long-term scenarios, [and] draw up strategic assessments concerning the growing role of the Muslim world and particular Islamic states in the international arena.”
The frequently outspoken Muslim Duma leader said that the new center stood ready to provide a full range of professional services to all those interested in these questions and to draw on its ties “in practically all regions of Russia” in order to promote ties between these regions and Muslim countries abroad.
An indication of the actual direction the new body may take is provided by the titles of some items already posted on the center’s website: “Al Qaeda – A Tale for Idiots,” “’Israel’ has Already Lost. The Islamic World Has Not Fallen on Its Knees,” and “The Threats of the US are a Bluff – Iran will Become a Leader of the Islamic World.”

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