President Medvedev stresses Islam’s importance for Russia

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev sent a message to greet the fifth session of the “Russia and the Islamic World” Strategic Vision Group held in Kuwait.

In the message he notes that “the Group has made a great contribution to development of trust and mutual understanding between Russia and Muslim states during three years of its work”. He also said: “Your activities help to resist radical and extremist initiatives. The Group is a platform for sharing experience in building tolerant relations between different cultures and religions.”

“The Russian Federation as Organization of the Islamic Conference observer state is firm in its intention to develop dialogue with the Islamic world,”–the message also reads.

Islamic superhero comic “The 99” among top 20 pop culture trends worldwide

The creator of a bestselling comic designed to show the world the tolerant and peaceful face of Islam has written an open letter to his young sons explaining how the project grew out of 9/11.

In the letter, written for the BBC News website, Kuwaiti psychologist Dr Naif al-Mutawa, says his superheroes – inspired by the Koran and known as THE 99 – were designed to “take back Islam” from militants who had taken it hostage.

The comics, which now sell about one million copies a year in several languages, are soon to be made into an animated film by Dutch media company Endemol. Early last year, Forbes magazine announced THE 99 were one of the 20 top pop culture trends sweeping the world.

Montenegro: Montenegro Gets Islamic School

After an almost century-long wait, Muslims in the Republic of Montenegro will finally receive their first secondary school to accommodate students and parents wishing the youngsters to receive an Islamic education. Construction of the facility has been completed, with help from the Saudi bases Islamic Development Bank and a number of charities in Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. The school is now scheduled to open for the 2008-2009 school year, with facilities including dorm rooms, a library, computer lab, gymnasium, and theater. However, enrollment in the first year will be comprised entirely of boys; girls are expected to be added to the student body in the following school year.

Visit of French Minister of Foreign Affairs in Qatar, Bahrain, …

At every stage of the visit of French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dominique De Villepin, to each of Abu Dhabi, Muscat, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain, the question about the law France is intending to adopt in order to ban the religious symbols, including headscarves in schools and the workplace was raised. Some people in the region considered that such a law is a violation of individual freedoms in the country of democracy, which is based on three sacred pillars: freedom, equality and fraternity.