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
"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.