How to Listen

Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty broadcasts in 28 languages. Most of our programs are available on FM and medium-wave frequencies of local radio stations in the countries of our broadcast area. If you are having problems listening to programs on the internet, please read our technical help document.



Sunday, April 20, 2014


Multimedia

Aigerim: Why I Don't Wear The Hijabi
|| 0:00:00
X
July 21, 2010
Aigerim Sooronbaeva lives in Kyrgyzstan, where 75% of the population is Muslim.

Aigerim: Why I Don't Wear The Hijab

Published 21 July 2010

Aigerim Sooronbaeva lives in Kyrgyzstan, where 75% of the population is Muslim.


This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Seidkazi
July 22, 2010 15:45
OK Aigerim, point taken. Yet allow me a question: is the (sometimes grotesque imitation of) Western dress that you see everywhere in Bishkek and other places in Kyrgyzstan complying with 'Kyrgyz traditions'?

by: Guest from: Toronto
July 23, 2010 23:25
Seidkazi, you took the words right out of my mouth.
In Response

by: Seidkazi
July 26, 2010 09:26
See, I'm always amused when I hear people (echoed by foreign aid organizations) pretend that 'Arab Islam' is not compatible with their 'national traditions'. Yet when you look at them, they live according to anything but the traditions that they claim to defend against evil Arab Islam. Let's stay serious: many were not as 'patriotic' and keen to preserve their perceived traditions when it came to sell out completely to pseudo-Western/global trash culture.

Besides that, today, Islam is as much an 'Arab' religion than Christianity a 'European' one: two-thirds of the Ummah is non-Arab and Islam's strongest dynamics take place outisde of the Arab world. It is meritocratic and internationalist by nature. Finally, what *is* 'traditional Kyrgyz culture'? Part of it still exist in pockets. But for the rest, what is dished up as such (often in the form of slick folklore and empty rituals rather than living culture) is maybe inspired by the old nomadic culture of the Kyrgyz, but is especially a Soviet-era travesty that has been taken over by the new/recycled elites after independence.

Certain traditional institutions (e.g. these sycophantic aksakal councils) have been compromised through their close association with the regimes as well. Not only in Kyrgyzstan : there's a similar pattern in other ex-Soviet countries in the region.

by: Chris from: Seattle, Washington, USA
August 04, 2010 03:26
I don't think lifestyle in itself is all that cultural. Otherwise people could say that modern European manufacturing and the contributions that dynastic China made to its development is just a bunch of foreign shit and encourage we could encourage countries to go back to being nomads.

Kyrgyz people can practice Islam or take elements of it, but that doesn't mean they are giving up native culture, just like if they use manufacturing processes and so on. However because the majority of people follow Islamic practices, I suppose it's easy to mark it as an affront to native culture.

The reason why Western clothing, etc. might be preferred though is that it does not have any ideas and practices attached to it that other clothing might have. Only the idea of simplicity and ease of movement exists with modern Western clothing, aside from expensive fashion clothing. But that's precisely why Muslims might be angry, because it is an affront to the idea of humility and covering sexually attractive features of the body more fully when in public, etc.

If you want to include that as a facet of culture, and that Western clothing is thus anti-cultural to native clothing, then of course Western clothing is as non-Kyrgyz as Islamic clothing. But there's not really a need to dress in certain types of clothing in modern society. So is this a loss of culture, just because no-one is dressing in nomad-era, non-manufactured clothing? I'd argue that it is just as cultural to preserve the native clothing designs, weather manufactured or not. I mean, there's still Javanese clothing patterns and so on being produced, and Indonesia has a higher percentage of Muslims and more Muslims than any other nation, but there's just the Arabic influence mixed in there.