The former chief doctor of the district hospital Karamat Abdykadyrova left her native village, disillusioned with the Muslim faith. Her appeal to the Church of Jesus Christ irritated relatives: in protest, two son-in-laws left their families, the youngest daughter, a student at a university in Osh, demonstratively fulfills all the requirements of Islam - she reads namaz five times a day and wears hijab.
The incident in a remote mountain village did not receive a public response because it was not publicly disclosed. However, this fact of proselytism is not an isolated case, but a phenomenon that is becoming more widespread in the southern regions of the republic and causing a negative reaction in the countryside, where there are mainly Muslims living in the same faith.
“Today, there are 216 Protestant communities and 20 Baha'i communities, temples and prayer houses of Catholics, Jews, Buddha and Krishna worshipers, as well as 20 foreign denominations and over one thousand missionaries, 7 religious centers and foundations in the republic. With their appearance, the rivalry of spiritual leaders for the parishioners began, ”states Omurzak Mamausupov, director of the Agency for Religious Affairs under the government of the republic.
“Western missionaries showed ingenuity, skillfully using crowded places, captivating the audience with oratory, which, alas, cannot be said about some of the servants of our traditional religions,” adds Omurzak Mamayusupov.
The Church of Jesus Christ, which has managed to become the most numerous among other non-traditional religious movements in 15 years of its activity in Kyrgyzstan, showed particular activity. Its branches were opened in 18 cities and districts of the republic, but this event was preceded by a scandal that caused a resonance in the religious world of the republic.
“The State Commission (now the Agency) for Religious Affairs under the government of the republic has repeatedly tried to slow down the opening of new branches of the Church of Jesus Christ. Especially in places of compact residence of Muslims. First of all, because the most zealous adherents of the faith are detached from the family, they cease to abide by established folk customs for centuries, ”said journalist Albert Bogdanov.
Vasily Kuzin, senior preacher of the local Church of Jesus Christ, in an open letter to the former president of the republic, Askar Akayev, in an attempt to deny registration of branches, accused the leaders of traditional religion - Islam, who used government agencies in their struggle. In his opinion, they were not satisfied with the appeal of Muslims, especially young ones, to a different faith.
“Islam is a tolerant religion that does not condemn the other faith and its confession,” the spiritual leader Murataly-azhi Zhumanov said in a private conversation in a private conversation, but Muslims are against buying a “shower” for money. ”
“The leaders of traditional religion today are not in the mood for clarifying relations with representatives of Protestant trends,” said Shamshibek Zakirov, advisor to the director of the Agency for Religious Affairs under the government of the republic. “Inside Islam itself today there are many different trends that have unleashed the struggle for recruiting the congregation. We are concerned that supporters of extremist religious organizations that have been actively expressing themselves lately can use public discontent with the activities of Western missionaries who multiply the ranks of neophytes. ”
“I agree that the methods missionaries use to increase the number of parishioners in their churches are contrary to the principles of equality and freedom of conscience,” said Alexander Evgrafov, a follower of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. - It is necessary to recognize that today representatives of foreign religions and trends have calmed down somewhat, they are known, their teachings have penetrated even into remote villages of the republic and now there is no need to make efforts to “recruit” supporters. Those who wish come to them themselves. ”
The flock of new religions and movements is distinguished by ethnic diversity: Russians, Ukrainians, Tatars, Uzbeks, Kyrgyz, Uighurs, Turks ... According to one source, the number of supporters of non-Muslim confessions, mainly Protestants, approached 30,000, while others today are much more.
“Together with me, the Church of Jesus Christ in Osh is visited by over a dozen Kyrgyz, my countrymen. Coming to relatives, they are forced to hide their religious beliefs in order not to be subjected to pressure or to hear threats from neighbors, ”admitted Karamat Abdykadyrova.
There are cases when local governments are rural gov- erns, residents were demanding to evict non-believers from localities who insult their religious feelings. "Departed" is not allowed to bury in the family cemeteries. According to the “Fatwa” (decree) of the Mufti of Kyrgyzstan, “apostates” (Muslims by birth who have adopted a different faith) cannot find peace in a Muslim cemetery because it is contrary to Islam. They are not allowed to bury the proselytes in the Christian Orthodox cemetery and the parishioners of the Orthodox Church. This problem has already led to a local conflict between Muslims and Protestants in one of the northern regions of the republic, so in the Jalalabat region they found an option that suits everyone. The Public Foundation “Aslan Alliance - Jalal-Abat” together with another non-governmental organization “Peacebuilding Group” gathered representatives of traditional and non-traditional religious organizations operating in Jalal-Abat at a general “round table”.
“We discussed the situation that has arisen in a number of districts and the city itself because of the facts of proselytism, and appealed to the heads of local authorities with a request to allocate land for the burial of the“ gentiles ”. The state administration of the region has helped to solve this problem, ”said Indira Raimberdiyeva, head of the NGO Peacebuilding Group.