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Kyrgyzstan's Atambaev Vows To Combat Extremist 'Cancer'

  • RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service

Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambaev has vowed to implement "the strictest measures against extremist religious communities."

Speaking at the session of the Central Asian nation's Security Council on November 3, Atambaev said that "religious extremism is like a cancer, it must not be left untreated."

Atambaev warned religious clerics in the predominantly Muslim country that those who "refuse to accept that Kyrgyzstan is a secular state" will face "severe legal" consequences.

Atambaev added that the Kyrgyz people are Muslims and will always be Muslims, but radicalization might lead to the "Arabization of society [and the] deprivation of the Kyrgyz nation of its language and traditions."

Kyrgyzstan's government has said that hundreds of Kyrgyz citizens have fought alongside other militants against government forces in Syria.