Mufti Gainutdin: It'll take Russia to years to gain OIC observer status

It may take Russia at least another two years to gain entry into the Observer Council of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, Ravil Gainutdin said on Wednesday at a press conference in the RIA Novosti central office. He is the chairman of the Russian Mufti Council and the head of the Muslim Board of the European part of the Russian Federation.

Gainutdin has set high store by Russia's chances to enter as observer into the international organisation.

"The Russian law does not impinge upon the rights of Muslims. Therefore, if the Arab world treats Russia favourably, its entry into the Organisation of the Islamic Conference may take a little time", said the mufti.

Simultaneously, he recalled that at the recent OIC summit in Malaysia, attended by President Vladimir Putin as guest, no juridical document on Russia's entry into the OIC was signed.

"Some mass media have said that the visit flopped and Russia could not count on the OIC observer status. But, such matters cannot be promptly settled. The admission of a state to the OIC does not begin with a head-of-state speech at a summit", the mufti said.

"The 56 Islamic states which invited our president to the summit have expressed a tremendous respect for our country", Gainutdin emphasised.

"No president has ever got the opportunity", he recalled.

To him, the observer status enables Russia to vote at OIC international forums. He also noted that, as long as Russia is not a member of the OIC Observer Council, Russian Muslim leaders cannot do work in the OIC.

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