Thursday, March 24, 2005

Russia's new Muslim lobby

The "Islamic Heritage" organization that was established at a congress in Moscow this week plans to lobby the Russian government at all levels on behalf of the traditionally Islamic peoples of that country in much the same way the Russian Jewish Congress already does on behalf of Russia's Jews, according to its founders. Because the new group can claim to speak for more than 10 percent of Russia's population, its leaders hope that they will wield a great deal of influence and even power. But that possibility almost inevitably means that Moscow will try to weaken the new group's base by promoting divisions within the country's ever-larger Muslim population. Khakimov told the meeting that "Russia has two legs, Islam and Orthodoxy and can stand up only by using both."


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