THE OUTCOMES OF THE 5TH INTERNATIONAL SUMMER SCHOOL ON ISLAMIC STUDIES
The Ukrainian Centre of Islamic Studies chose just this dictum of the Prophet Muhammad (God bless him and grant him peace) while being founded.
This motto has also been engraved on the emblem of the organisation whose aim was to favour self-development of young scientists and formation of full-fledged center for studying Islam in Ukraine. This Center, jointly with All-Ukrainian Assosiation of Civil Organisations “Alraid” and the National University of Ostroh Academy held the 5th International Summer School on Islamic Studies in the town of Ostroh on July 10-15.
For the past five days the School participants with the help of their young colleagues and already known scientists from Ukraine and from abroad (Poland, Azerbaijan) studied the problems of the history and present state of Islam in Ukraine and Western Europe, in Northern America, in the Near East and Northern and Central Africa, Central Asia, and even in Japan. The School trait is that most researchers know various foreign languages; that is why all the investigations were performed on the basis of origins written in the region under study – that was exceptionally cognitive for others, who did not know the given language and could not know, what scientists of those folks wrote about a certain problem.
The past arrangement specificity was that, in contrast to previous sessions, not mainly Muslim portal Islam in Ukraine but also mainly Christian portal the Greatness of Lviv were information partners of the School. It is extremely important that various religious communities of Ukraine try to know better each other, to understand each other, not to offend, and to develop congenial neighborly relations in the society.
Besides the lively scientific debates, the participants had several excursions to historical places of Ostrog where, by the way, the local Muslim community lived during four centuries up to 1944, and there was even the first mosque in Western Ukraine; there was also a theatrical performance of ”canonically-minimal variant of the Muslim wedding nikyakh” (most non-Muslim participants confessed later that only now, after the visual demonstration, could remember all elements and peculiarities, since it was difficult to study it from books), Muslims invited all interested to look how they perform their daily prayers (in the opinion of Mykhailo Yakubovych, the translater of Koran senses into the Ukrainian language and a lecturer of the Ostrog Academy, that was the greatest Jaamat of those who prayed within precincts of the Academy for, probably, the last century).
How did the Academy’s authorities treat this act? They were positive. Moreover, the School was held at this National University on the invitation of rector and pro-rector of the Academy; professors Pasichnyk and Kralyuk liked this arrangement conception very much.
At the ceremony of official close of the School Petro Kraliuk, pro-rector of the Academy, thanked its organizers and participants for such interesting scientific arrangement with so high level of preparation. He said that the holding of the Islamic Studies School in Ostroh was preliminarily discussed in spring, but it looked then rather hypothetical if not fantastic.
Mr Kralyuk emphasized that it was important for Ukrainians to give more attention to the world of Islam. “There are certain stereotypes that we are a European nation and should go to Europe (that is correct), but we should remember that we are the European nation which was a certain bridge between Christian and Islam worlds for many centuries, and we should preserve and develop this unique heritage. Unfortunately the broad public knows too little about such things. And it is very pleasant that not only faithful Muslims but also Christians and people of all creeds took part in holding the School; this makes it a ground for dialogue. And we, Christians, could observe a religious practice of Muslims that was certainly very interesting and cognitive”.
Said Ismagilov, a mufti of the Spiritual Directorate of Ukraine’s Muslims “Umma” and a Head of the Ukrainian Centre of Islamic Studies was satisfied with the held session.
He expressed a hope that all present will join the formation of full-value Islam study in Ukraine. “We have not the full-value science; there are some researchers who study fragmentarily various themes. Thus, I propose that all of us worked to form a School of Islam Study, which would appear and work in Ukraine. Each of you has a unique chance to become a well-known specialist in Islam study in Ukraine; this chance is much higher than in any other field, since this niche is not still occupied. So there are potentialities and prospects. We should only work. And we should work together for higher efficiency. So we call everybody to join this process. Thank you that you have given a week of your life for this science!”
The participants received memorable gifts – a key-drive in a form of a plastic card with the logotype of the Ukrainian Centre of Islam Study and of the portal Islam in Ukraine; as well as the books Islam in Ukraine: the History and Presence written by Mikhail Yakubovich, and translations of the books Great Ayat and Moses’ Crosier by Said Nursi (translated by Vitaliy Shchepansky and Mykhaylo Yakubovych.
Translated by Olga Maksimenko from http://www.arraid.org/ua/node/5181