Focus on youth, Medvedev tells Caucasus Muslim leaders
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Last Updated: Friday, August 28, 2009, 22:28
Moscow: President Dmitry Medvedev appealed on Friday to Muslim clerics and officials in the Russian Caucasus to focus on youth and develop schemes to dissuade them from joining Islamist insurgents.

"Unfortunately, bandit groups still manage to pull young people under their wing, into their criminal activities. This is the fact," Medvedev told a meeting of religious and political chiefs from the volatile region.

"I think it would be right for us to develop a comprehensive programme to work with youth in North Caucasus," Medvedev said in televised remarks, at his official summer residence at the Black Sea resort town of Sochi.

This effort, the Russian president said, should focus specifically on education, employment and leisure activities for young people in the predominantly Muslim region.

Medvedev proposed a Muslim television channel as a way to wean young people off rebel propaganda and said the government should tighten control over access to Islamic education abroad.

"There should definitely be control and not only because they leave for states from where they can bring the 'wrong' Islam," Ria-Novosti news agency quoted Medvedev as saying.

"First and foremost, these are our citizens and we must understand what will be happening to them," he said, referring to Russian students who go abroad for Islamic studies.

Bureau Report

First Published: Friday, August 28, 2009, 22:28

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