Rafik Mukhametshin, rector of the Russian Islamic Institute and the Bulgarian Islamic Academy, held a press conference at Kazan's City Press Center to tell journalists about the work of the academy and to share his impressions of the FIFA World Cup RussiaTM.
Mukhametshin said the first group of 68 students enrolled at the academy last year included young people from Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. The academy offers master's or doctoral degree programs, each lasting for three years. The qualifications for enrolling include the knowledge of Arabic, the language of tuition for over 60 percent of classes.
The academy rector said there are plans to train Islamic economists, including for Sharia committees at Islamic banks, because of Sharia restrictions on certain bank transactions, such as the marketing of non-halal products.
Mukhametshin also shared his impressions of the World Cup and the performance of the Russian team. He said he did not expect the Russian team to play so well and was impressed by the quarterfinal with Croatia despite Russia's defeat on penalties.
The rector said some of the World Cup volunteers were students at the Russian Islamic Institute.
In reply to a question, Mukhametshin said the Bulgarian Islamic Academy does not have a football team but it has a coach and a gym, and the students enjoy sports.
"Our students are not only interested in sports but also take sports classes. (…) Sport is very important to them," the rector emphasized.