Russian Muslim clerics ask for permission to carry guns

Muftis in Russia's Volga area have asked for permission for senior Muslim clerics to carry firearms for self-defense, said a source in the Central Russian Muslim Administration.

The request was put forward by muftis at a meeting in Ufa on Wednesday with the presidential envoy to the Volga Federal District, Mikhail Babich, the source told Interfax.

The muftis also suggested that, for security\'s sake, some of the duties at a mosque be entrusted to police officers with basic Muslim education.

"[Police] who have previously received basic religious education, might take part in the activities of Muslim communities in plain clothes, for example acting as muezzins [officials reciting calls to prayer]," the source said.

On July 19, the chairman of the Muslim Spiritual Administration of Tatarstan, a republic in the Volga area, 49-year-old Ildus Faizov, was injured as his car was blown up in the Tatar capital, Kazan. An hour earlier, the head of the administration's education department, 48-year-old Valiulla Yakupov, was shot dead in the stairwell of his apartment building.

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