Kyrgyzstan sees rise in religious extremism in first half of 2011

Text of report by privately-owned Kyrgyz AKIpress news agency website

Bishkek, 12 September: There was a rise in the number of uncovered instances of religious extremism in the first six months of 2011. This became known at today’s meeting of the Kyrgyz government council for security, law and order during discussions about the state of extremism and measures against it.

It was noted that 106 crimes were committed in the given period. Of these, 59 were solved. In all, 117 people were brought to criminal account. Over 10,000 copies of religious extremist material were seized.

Between 2005 and 2010, the Interior Ministry and the State National Security Committee identified and detained over 1,000 active members of radical extremist organizations, launched over 700 criminal proceedings, put 7,000 supporters of extremist and terrorist organizations, including their active functionaries and leaders, on the register.

It was noted that the absence of a religious education system and the level of imams’ knowledge was a serious problem. In all, 72 per cent of imams do not have religious education, 25 per cent have general secondary education and only 5 per cent have higher religious education, the first deputy head of the State National Security Committee, M. Musayev, said in his report.

He noted that the situation was made worse by the uncontrolled and unsystematic approach to religious education. Musayev said that according to the established practice, some imams receive religious education in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Russia, Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Lebanon, Pakistan.

According to existing data, over 1,000 people are studying at 30 foreign theological and foreign educational institutions. Most of them go there unofficially. The process remains outside the control of relevant state bodies and the Spiritual Board of Kyrgyz Muslims, Musayev said.

Source: AKIpress news agency website, Bishkek, in Russian 1135 gmt 12 Sep 11

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