OSH, Kyrgyzstan -- The imam of Kyrgyzstan's southern city of Osh has banned children's classes at local mosques and using mosques for residential purposes, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.
Imam Shakir Mamatov announced his decision today at an Osh city council session. He said his rationale was that some children attend religious classes in mosques instead of going to public secondary schools, citing Osh's Alai Mosque as an example.
Local officials say an investigation revealed that 11 local children were illegally attending the mosque on a daily basis instead of going to a public school.
Mamatov's spokesman, Maksat Mambetaliev, told RFE/RL that Kyrgyzstan's Religious Affairs Directorate had not been informed of the imam's decision.
There are 51 officially registered mosques in Osh, which is the country's second-largest city with a population of some 220,000.
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