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Kyrgyz Clerics To Urge Restraint On Anniversary Of Violence

Grand Mufti of Kyrgyzstan Maksatbek Hajji Toktomushev
Islamic clerics in Kyrgyzstan are meant to use their sermons -- starting with Friday Prayers on June 6 -- to urge followers to refrain from ethnic violence.

A June 5 order by Kyrgyzstan's Grand Mufti Maksatbek Hajji Toktomushev obliges clerics to focus their sermons from June 6 to June 13 on Islamic teachings about brotherly relations between all Muslims, regardless of their nationality.

The order comes as Kyrgyzstan marks the fourth anniversary of deadly clashes between ethnic Uzbeks and Kyrgyz citizens that killed more than 400 people in the southern regions of Osh and Jalal-Abad after the ouster of former President Kurmanbek Bakiyev.

Meanwhile, supporters of Kyrgyzstan’s detained former parliamentary speaker Akmatbek Keldibekov -- a politician from Osh and backer of Bakiyev -- reportedly were continuing on June 6 to protest on a highway in the Osh region, despite calls from Keldibekov for the removal of their roadblock.
With reporting by