Commerce minister off to Russia-Islamic World Forum

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s acting minister of commerce and industry, Nooruddin Azizi, left Kabul for Russia on Wednesday where he will attend the Russia-Islamic World Forum scheduled to start on Thursday.

According to the ministry, Azizi, will also meet with Russian officials along with officials from other countries and companies in a bid to boost trade and investment with Afghanistan.

The two-day Russia-Islamic World Forum will begin in Kazan, southwest Russia, on Thursday.

The decision to hold the 2023 edition of the Russia-Islamic World forum in Kazan is symbolic: the capital of Tatarstan, located some 800km east of Moscow, is seen by the Russian state as a successful example of multiculturalism and peaceful religious coexistence.

Russia is home to some 15 million Muslim citizens “in the sense that they belong to ethnic groups with cultural foundations linked to Islam. Not all are believers or practicing Muslims,” according to a report from the French Institute for International Relations, AFP reported.

As a whole, Muslims make up 10% of the Russian population, with most living in the Caucasas – the area of land that separates the Caspian and Black Seas – and the Volga-Ural region.

Muslims have lived in Tatarstan, in the Volga district, for centuries and the Tatar population (descended from largely Muslim Turkic ethnic groups) is Russia’s largest ethnic minority group.

The forum in Kazan aims to strengthen economic, cultural and intellectual ties between Russia and the 57 member countries of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).