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Kyrgyz Officials Detain Islamic Group Members

  • RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service

OSH, Kyrgyzstan -- Kyrgyz officials in the southern region of Osh have detained a group of religious followers for illegally propagating Islamic teaching.

Osh regional police department spokesman Zhenish Ashirbaev said on August 18 that seven members of the Yaqyn Inkar Islamic movement, including teenagers, were detained for propagating their ideas without legal permission.

The activities of the movement are not banned in Kyrgyzstan, but religious organizations have to obtain permission from local authorities to promote their views.

The group's members live as people did in the seventh century when the Prophet Muhammad was alive. They do not use modern technical devices, travel by foot, do not cut their hair regularly, and wear only traditional white Arabic clothes.

Religious experts consider the group an offshoot of the Tablighi Jamaat Islamic group, which is legal in Kyrgyzstan but officially banned in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Russia.