This is a guest post by Uli Schamiloglu, professor in Languages and Cultures of Asia and the Director of UW-Madison’s Middle East Studies Program.
On Wednesday, October 14, 2009 Hillary Clinton traveled to the city of Kazan, capital of the Muslim republic of Tatarstan. On October 9 the Tatar-Bashkir Service of Radio Liberty reported that Hillary Clinton would be visiting Kazan and meeting with local political and religious leaders.
AFP reports that Clinton praised tolerance in Muslim Russian region.
The Republic of Tatarstan is one of the over 20 ethnic republics of the Russian Federation. Kazan Tatars, who speak a Turkic language, are the largest non-Slavic minority in the Russian Federation. The ancestors of the Kazan Tatars accepted Islam in the early 10th century. In the 19th-early 20th century the Kazan Tatars were leaders in the movements for religious and cultural reform among the Muslims of the Russian Empire. Following the collapse of the USSR, the republic became a model for federalism in the Russian Federation as well as a model of ethnic and religious pluralism. The leaders of Tatarstan consider Tatar Islam an example of “Euro-Islam” that can serve as an example for other Muslim nations. The English website of Radio Liberty has a detailed background analysis of the political, ethnic, and religious situation in Tatarstan.