Bishkek, 17 December 1996 (RFE/RL) - A Congress of Kyrgyzstan's Muslims is scheduled this week, but there is a dispute in the religious community as to whether it should be held.
Kyrgyzstan's Mufti Kimsanbai-Agi Abdrakmanov told a Bishkek news conference yesterday that only a certain group of Imams wants to hold this Congress. But the Mufti says he has now determined that since the first Muslim Congress was held in 1993, the next should not be held for four years, or not until 1997.
Our Bishkek correspondent reports the Mufti agreed in September to hold the Congress this month, but changed his mind after reports surfaced that some Imams sought his dismissal. The Mufti first appealed to President Askar Akayev, and then to the Congress' organizing committee. The Congress organizers first ageed to the Mufti's request, but then changed their minds and told RFE/RL that the Congress should be held this week, as scheduled.
The Muftiat says it will not participate in the Congress.
Some Imams question the legitimacy of the 1993 Congress, and have also accused the Mufti of corruption.